A mere ten days after signing for his childhood team, midfielder Russell Canouse made his first start for D.C. United against the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 19. The 22-year-old midfielder slotted into the starting eleven alongside Marcelo Sarvas, the Brazilian 13 years his senior, in front of the back line in a 4-2-3-1. "I felt good, especially after being in Germany for preseason for a while, so getting a real game under my belt was nice," Canouse said. "I felt like we had a good connection right from the get-go. In the game against Real Salt Lake, I tried to watch the guys and how they reacted in certain situations and what their strengths were, which helped for this match."
The match was also the first time the Pennsylvania native lined up with another recent acquisition, Paul Arriola, with whom Canouse had played for years in youth national team games. “Paul and I have a pretty special, long relationship," Canouse said. "We were a part of the [United States] U-20 squad, but it actually goes back to the U-14 national team. We went through the whole cycle together and have stayed friends and stayed in contact the whole way through." The 22-year-old settled into his first start nicely, providing defensive cover and distributing the ball with efficiency.
Canouse ended up playing all 90 minutes in his debut and led the team in multiple statistics, including passing percentage and tackles. The American also created two chances and recorded one shot. For head coach Ben Olsen, the victory was positive, but there are still things to work on as new signings get acclimated to their surroundings and teammates. "We need to get a little sharper and eradicate some of the silly turnovers," he said. "Some of it will happen organically as the guys get more time together and it should take care of itself."
Olsen and United will look to build off the momentum from last match as they host back-to-back home matches only three days apart, starting with Atlanta United on Wednesday at 7:30 PM. As for Canouse, the idea of playing at RFK is special. "I’m definitely excited to play at RFK; it's the stadium that I watched games at as a kid."