The Black-and-Red have been placed in Group C for the MLS is Back Tournament with Eastern Conference rivals Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, and Toronto FC. Each team will play three matches in the group stage, with the results counting toward the regular season standings. The top two teams from each group along with the next four highest-ranked teams in the group stage based on points, advance to the knockout stage of the competition.
D.C. United (1-1-1, 4 points) faces the New England Revolution (2-1-1, 7 points) in their second group stage match of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 17 at 8 PM ET. United recorded two draws against the Revolution in 2019 and are 34-27-14 during the regular season in club history.
In their first group stage match of the MLS is Back Tournament, the Black-and-Red recorded a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on July 13. Toronto opened the scoring in the 12th minute after Ayo Akinola fired a shot into the side netting from just outside the 18-yard-box. In the 44th minute, Alejandro Pozuelo set up Akinola for his second of the game to give Toronto a 2-0 lead. Just before halftime, Júnior Moreno was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for unsporting behavior.
After looking dangerous in the first half, Ola Kamara was replaced by Oniel Fisher at halftime to provide cover in the absence of Moreno, while Russell Canouse moved into his preferred midfield position. Kevin Paredes and Federico Higuaín both came on in the second half to make their debuts for United. The duo immediately provided a spark for the Black-and-Red as the team was struggling to maintain possession while playing a man down. 17-year-old Paredes replaced Julian Gressel in the 57th minute and looked lively throughout on the wing for United. Higuaín made an instant impact as he scored his first goal for United four minutes into his debut. Felipe Martins placed a perfect pass from his own half into the path of Higuaín, who took one touch before chipping Toronto’s goalkeeper to make the score 2-1. In stoppage time, Felipe picked out Steven Birnbaum at the far post from a free-kick, who headed the ball across goal finding Frédéric Brillant to level the scoring for the Black-and-Red. United’s come-from-behind draw was the first time in MLS since 2007 where a team earned a point after falling two goals behind and being down a man.
The New England Revolution recorded a victory over the Montreal Impact in their first match of the MLS if Back Tournament on July 9. After an even first half which ended 0-0, the Revolution opened the scoring in the 54th minute. Carles Gil picked out Gustavo Bou in traffic who created enough space to fire a left-footed shot into the top corner from just inside the 18-yard-box. The Revolution continued to create chances but were unable to add to their lead as the game ended 1-0. Heading into the match, New England sits on top of Group C in the MLS is Back Tournament, while D.C. United are right behind them in second.