Ben Olsen coaching at sunset - florida 2015

D.C. United Preseason Report: Florida Day 11 Match Recap

Daily training report

Preseason reset: Day 11

On perfect Tuesday evening for in Florida, D.C. United took the field against Swedish side Jönköpings at IMG Academy in its second preseason match of the season. Neither team could find the net in the scoreless draw, but United made crucial advances in its preparation for the 2015 campaign.

Game Recap:

First Half Lineup: Restrepo; Kemp, Opare, Boswell, Franklin; Rolfe (Driver 37), Halsti, Arnaud, DeLeon (Aguilar 37); Espindola, Pontius

The Black-and-Red almost opened the scoring in the second minute when Chris Rolfe and Fabián Espíndola broke through the back line, but the final shot from Espíndola sailed just over the crossbar. After the quick start United struggled to consistently keep its rhythm on and off the ball. There were occasional flashes of brilliance but also times where they couldn’t keep possession, and Jönköpings had some dangerous scoring chances. United showed more consistency late in the first half but to no avail. 

Second Half Lineup:

Warra; Korb, Opare, St. Ledger, McKenzie; Driver (Jeffrey 75), Martin, Metzger, Aguilar (Doyle 77); Arrieta, Estrada

Despite wholesale substitutions, United got off to another quick attacking start, and Jairo Arrieta almost headed home a David Estrada cross, after which the teams settled into a midfield battle.  Miguel Aguilar showed flashes off his speed and footwork several times, but couldn’t put his shots on target to test the keeper – a theme for both sides. Things changed for the Black-and-Red in the 72nd minute when rookie Dan Metzger picked up his second yellow card, both sliding tackles, to leave United down a man. Chris Korb used his own speed to clear the ball off the line after nearly gifting a own goal to the opposition when heading a ball back to trialist goalkeeper Travis Worra, who wasn’t expecting it.

Cautions:

58th minute – Dan Metzger – Yellow Card

72nd minute – Dan Metzger – Yellow Card (Ejected)

On Field Highlight of the Day:

New Faces

Having Chris Rolfe, Nick DeLeon and newcomer Markus Halsti on the field for the first time in 2015 was a treat. Rolfe created some of United’s best scoring opportunities in the first half, Halsti was a workhorse in the middle and DeLeon was explosive and aggressive down the right side.

Vocal on and off the field

Bill Hamid, who normally commands attention from his post in front of the net, put his vocal chops on display from the stands. He was another set of eyes for the players on the field, calling out runners, through balls and acting as the familiar voice that keeps the team organized.

Fabi and Rolfe

Rolfe and Espíndola celebrated frequently together in 2014, such as during a 4-1 romp over Dallas or while trading goals and assists in a 2-0 win over Houston. They displayed their chemistry again Tuesday, multiple times nearly connecting on a goal that would’ve been mistaken for midseason form.

Off Field Highlights:

Leidos supports DCU

Several employees from United’s presenting partner, Leidos, were on site and in attendance Tuesday. Some employees flew in from the company’s headquarters in Reston, Va., while others drove down from their Tampa, Fla., office.

Duct Tape Fixes All

Duct tape is used for many things. For Chris Rolfe, it’s used for preventive care. The skillful midfielder employs it between his big toes before games to keep them from blistering.

Halsti’s looking for a home

As Kofi Opare displayed Monday, trying to find a new place in the District of Columbia isn’t a fun or easy task. It’s a little more complicated when the player in question is from Finland and has barely set foot in D.C. yet. Markus Halsti is busy setting up house visits in D.C. for when the team lands Friday evening and he is asking everyone for advice. It might be worth connecting with Kofi. 

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