Zoltan 11-2-17

2017 season full of firsts for the Black-and-Red

While United's final season at RFK Stadium was full of bittersweet lasts as the Black-and-Red bid farewell to their original home, the year also featured a number of exciting firsts for the squad. Take a look back at some of the most memorable firsts of the season.

Ian Harkes' first professional start, March 12

Homegrown Ian Harkes made his highly-anticipated professional debut with the Black-and-Red on March 12 against New York City FC. The son of D.C. United legend John Harkes, the younger Harkes went a full 90 minutes in the Big Apple, tallying two shots and winning two fouls for D.C. Harkes gradually became a staple in the Black-and-Red lineup, and scored his first career MLS goal on July 4 against FC Dallas. 

Chris Odoi-Atsem's first professional start, May 31

Rookie Chris Odoi-Atsem, another local product, also picked up his first professional minutes this season. The staunch defender from the University of Maryland was United's 12th overall selection in last year's MLS SuperDraft thanks to his speed and ability to defend the counterattack. Odoi-Atsem made his first career MLS appearance on April 30 in Atlanta, subbing in just before the conclusion of the victory. The defender later earned his first professional start in Orlando, where he played a full 90 minutes for Ben Olsen. 

First win against Atlanta, April 30

The Black-and-Red welcomed newcomers Atlanta United FC to the league with a 3-1 win at Bobby Dodd Stadium on April 30, stealing all three points in the sides' first-ever matchup. Despite conceding an early goal to the hosts, United completed the comeback win thanks to goals from Lamar Neagle, Luciano Acosta, and Sébastien Le Toux, and six saves from Bill Hamid. In their first season against Atlanta, United secured three straight victories over the debutants. 

Zoltán Stieber's first career MLS goal, Sept. 27

Stieber quickly made his presence known after joining the Black-and-Red in the summer transfer window, raising the level of play in the final third with his cleverness on the ball. While the Hungarian was inches away from scoring numerous times earlier in the season, he opened his MLS account against rivals New York at Red Bull Arena on September 27. The goal came off a deflected free kick, and was capped with an even better celebration. 

Paul Arriola's first career MLS goal, Oct. 22

Arriola's arrival in D.C. over the summer signaled a turn toward the future of the club, which would heavily feature the talented Californian. The midfielder gave fans a preview of things to come when he made a well-timed run into the box and scored a beautiful goal against the Red Bulls on October 22. Arriola's first career MLS goal will also go down in history as the last-ever D.C. United goal scored at historic RFK Stadium. 

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