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D.C. United Preseason Report: Florida Day 14 Match Recap

Daily training report

Preseason reset: Day 14

Startling Lineup:

Worra; Kemp, Opare, Boswell, Franklin; Rolfe, Halsti, Arnaud, DeLeon; Espindola, Pontius

In its final preseason game in Florida, D.C. United lost to Swedish side Malmo FF 1-0, but it was a much improved performance from the Black-and-Red, compared to its last match on Tuesday.

In the first half both sides created plenty of scoring opportunities and had equal bouts of possession with the ball. United almost struck first in the 2nd minute when Taylor Kemp played in a left footed swinger to Nick DeLeon who couldn’t get a touch on the ball in the box. Malmo FF would soon answer with its own opportunities, but the Black-and-Red defense snuffed any dangerous chances out. Fabian Espindola, Chris Pontius and Chris Rolfe started to get in the rhythm in the first half and put together some great one-two touch passes that led to some dangerous chances, but United was just one final ball away from finishing one. Davy Arnaud, DeLeon and Espindola all had good looks on goal from inside the box, but none of them were put on frame. Malmo made United pay for its lack of finishing when they slotted home the first goal of the game in the 44th minute. After an attempted defensive header, a Malmo forward found the ball at his feet, slid it through to a wide open winger who easily slotted it home past trialist goalkeeper Travis Worra as Malmo went in to halftime ahead, 1-0.

Second Half Lineup:

Worra; Kemp (Martin 70’), Opare (Robinson 80’), Boswell (Guest Player 63’), Franklin (McKenzie); Rolfe (Driver 50’), Halsti (Jeffrey 65’), Arnaud (Metzger 65’), Aguilar (Doyle 80’); Espindola (Estrada 57’), Arrieta

In the second half Malmo came out swinging as they controlled possession, and had several early scoring chances, before both teams started to make mass substitutions in the 60th minute. United nearly tied the game in the 67th minute with a brilliant through ball to David Estrada, but once behind the defense he couldn’t get a final touch on it to beat the ‘keeper.  The rest of the second half was mostly played in the midfield as each side’s new group of players tried to find their style. A few scoring opportunities arose for each side, but no one could find the back of the net as United lost its final game in Florida, 1-0.

Caution:

65 – Andrew Driver – Yellow Card

87 – Jairo Arrieta – Yellow Card

On Field Highlight of the Day:

There wasn’t one individual play that stood out from United’s performance on Friday, but more a collection of plays and situations where you could tell the players were clicking. After three games together you could tell the movement and fluidity was better between the forwards and midfielders and you began to see flashes of what made the Black-and-Red so special last season. Watching the team combine, move and play as a group was the highlight of Friday. Look for much more of that in the coming weeks as preseason moves on and we head to CONCACAF Champions League. 

Off Field Highlight of the Day:

The last day of a preseason trip is always interesting. This morning consisted of a team breakfast, distributing jerseys to the players and gear to the staff, loading all the player’s personal bags on the bus, finishing packing up the boat house and checking out of the hotel – all by 10 a.m. EST. While the team was walking to the bus the staff at the Hyatt lined up next to the bus with a round of applause to send of us in style. It was a much appreciated gesture from the friendly faces that have put up with us for two weeks. The biggest applause was for none other than Team Administrator Francisco Tobar who worked hand-in-hand with the staff for two weeks making sure the team was well taken care of.

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