First Team

PREVIEW | D.C. United face Toronto FC in opening match of MLS is Back Tournament

D.C. United

D.C. United has been placed in Group C for the MLS is Back Tournament with Eastern Conference rivals Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, and Toronto FC. New England defeated Montreal 1-0 in the opening match of Group C on July 9. Each team will play three matches in the group stage, with the results counting toward the regular season standings. The top three teams from Group A and the top two teams from Groups B, C, D, E, F along with the next three highest-ranked teams in the group stage based on points, advance to the knockout stage of the competition.

The Black-and-Red (1-1-0, 3 points) take on Toronto FC (1-0-1, 4 points) in their first group stage match of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 12 at 9 AM ET. United are 14-10-8 during the regular season against Toronto and recorded two draws against the Canadian side in 2019.

PREVIEW | D.C. United face Toronto FC in opening match of MLS is Back Tournament -

In the last match before the season was suspended due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Black-and-Red defeated Inter Miami CF on March 7 for their first win of the 2020 season. Miami got off to a fast start as Rodolfo Pizarro opened the scoring in the second minute, marking the first goal in the expansion franchise's history. United were forced to make two first half substitutions as Erik Sorga came on for Ola Kamara to make his competitive debut and Oniel Fisher replaced Joseph Mora to mark his first appearance for the Black-and-Red since the 5-0 victory over Montreal on Sept. 29, 2018.  

The Black-and-Red started the second half much better than the first, creating several dangerous opportunities. In the 54th minute, as United’s pressure continued to build, Inter Miami’s Roman Torress saw a straight red card after VAR spotted an intentional handball denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. The Black-and-Red continued to apply pressure on Miami’s backline and in the 59th minute Edison Flores was awarded a penalty which Yamil Asad converted to level the scoring. Shortly after in the 61st minute, United won a free-kick in a dangerous position. Flores forced a diving save from Miami’s goalkeeper, and Frédéric Brillant pounced on the rebound, firing a right-footed volley into the back of the net to give United the 2-1 victory. 

PREVIEW | D.C. United face Toronto FC in opening match of MLS is Back Tournament -

Federico Higuaín returns from injury for the Black-and-Red ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament after signing as a free agent in February. Ola Kamara and Joseph Mora have both recovered from the knocks they picked-up in the match against Miami. After missing the match against Miami, Donovan Pines is available after returning to full training. Chris Seitz and Emmanuel Boateng will be unavailable for the match, while Paul Arriola remains sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in preseason.  

Toronto FC opened their season with a 2-2 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on March 29. Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the match before the Earthquakes equalized in stoppage time of the second half. In their last match before the suspension of the season, Toronto recorded a victory over New York City FC. After both teams failed to score in the first half, Ifunanyachi Achara broke the deadlock in the 81st minute to give Toronto the 1-0 victory.