bobby boswell with the armadillo trophy
Rebecca Payne /

D.C. United Preseason Report: Champions of the ATX Pro Challenge

Daily training report

Austin: Day 5

First Half Lineup: Hamid; Kemp, Boswell, Halsti, Franklin; Rolfe, Kitchen Arnaud, DeLeon; Pontius, Espindola

Second Half Lineup: Hamid; Kemp (Mishu 78’), Boswell (McKenzie 78’), Halsti (Opare 78’), Franklin (Trailist 78’); Rolfe (Aguilar 65’), Kitchen (Jeffrey 78’). Arnaud (Farfan 74’), DeLeon (Estrada 78’); Pontius (Arrieta 78’), Espindola (Doyle 78’)

Some unique preseason hardware is headed for the trophy case at RFK Stadium after D.C. United defeated FC Dallas, 1-0, to win the inaugural ATX Pro Challenge. The Black-and-Red looked poised to strike early and often and finished by grabbing hold of the tournament’s cowboy hat-wearing, holster-carrying armadillo trophy. In the 54th minute, Chris Rolfe gave United the only goal it needed – and it’s second highlight reel goal in consecutive matches. Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon were notably dangerous in the first half as United had the better opportunities though FC Dallas nearly answered, only to be stymied by 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Bill Hamid, who came up with several big saves before halftime.

DCU Cautions:

Davy Arnaud – Yellow Card – 13th minute

Trialist – Yellow Card – 90th minute

On the Field Highlight of the Day:

Friday night it was Miguel Aguilar, but Sunday it was all Chris Rolfe. Off a Fabian Espindola free kick, he collected the ball just beyond the 18-yard box. With a cutback to his right foot, he sent an FC Dallas defender sprawling to the ground, and with his next touch he powered a 25-yard into the top right corner.

Off Field Highlight of the Day:

You can’t beat an Armadillo Trophy. That’s the end of the discussion. To celebrate the win players took pictures with the Armadillo, hoisted it up as if it were the Stanley Cup and brought it over to the Black-and-Red faithful to bring them into the celebration. The real question is where does it go in the trophy case?

Q&A with Bobby Boswell:

DCU: How does it feel to win both games and get the results you all were looking for here in Austin?

BB: The results are great when you win. The bigger thing is the group showed up, the whole group showed up. In the first game we had a split group, one group got the lead and other held it, and today it was the same thing, one group got the lead and the other held it. It was a team effort. Goalies performed when we needed them to, and we scored some great goals. We could have scored more goals, and if there’s one takeaway we almost need to be even cleaner in front of goal. Fitness-wise we got some good work in and played great competition.

DCU: What’s the difference between this trip and the two-week stint in Bradenton, Fla.?

BB: The difference is that in Florida everyone was coming back in for the first time, and we were missing a couple guys, whether it was injures or guys at U.S. Men’s National Team camp. As we get closer to our games that means the intensity and attitude are amped up. The guys are trying to earn their spots. In Florida you have guys trying to make the team, now you have guys trying to earn their spots. The mentality is a little different.

DCU: The team will now head to Dallas, what’s the mentality for trip? Sole focus on CONCACAF?

BB: We have kind of been preparing for CONCACAF all preseason. The key is we now have a different mentality. Some of these games it’s an exercise in getting ready, but for us we can’t go in to that first game and not get a good result because we will put ourselves in a bad spot in the second leg. We prepare ourselves mentally as if it was a CONCACAF game. We have one more tough test against FC Dallas – probably a different Dallas team than we saw tonight – and it’s about our mentality getting ready and then we have to go on the road and do our work.

DCU: IS this the best trophy you have ever won?

BB: I can say without a doubt it’s the most unique. It’s one thing to be an armadillo, but it’s a different thing to have a gunslinger belt on. For me, that takes it to the next level. D.C. United better keep their doors locked because if not, it’s coming home to me in my house.