For the Black-and-Red, defense is critical. With standout center backs Steven Birnbaum and Frédéric Brillant, MLS veteran goalkeepers Steve Clark and David Ousted, and United’s 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Kofi Opare at the heart of the back line, the Black-and-Red are well-versed in defending. Leidos—the presenting partner of D.C. United—provides systems, solutions, and services covering air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace for Defense and Intelligence customers worldwide. Sponsored by Leidos, this weekly feature delves into some of the defensive storylines for United.
As D.C. United goalkeeper David Ousted walked off the pitch at the Maryland SoccerPlex, he let out a guttural roar before raising teammate Bruno Miranda into the air in a tight embrace.
Miranda’s penalty kick conversion had just ensured that the Black-and-Red would advance past USL side North Carolina FC into the Round of 16 in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Earlier, Ousted had put a stop to Kyle Bekker's penalty kick attempt, setting the stage for Miranda's game-winner.
Including their last two league matches, the Black-and-Red have gone unbeaten in three straight, including a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes and a gritty 1-1 draw against Los Angeles FC.
In all three games, it has been Ousted providing a steady last line of defense in goal.
Ousted earned his first win with United after stopping four of five shots against San Jose, preserving the large lead his teammates provided early in the match.
Then against LAFC, Ousted held the line, facing six shots and saving five as he kept the Black-and-Red in the game long enough for Darren Mattocks to score an equalizer and steal a point on the road.
Though United were in firm control of the match against North Carolina, the USL side were eager for an upset and nearly scrapped their way to one before Ousted shut the door through extra time and the deciding penalty kick round.
If the Black-and-Red wish to continue this run, Ousted, who could potentially make his 150th career MLS start Saturday against the Seattle Sounders, will need to continue being a key part of the defense.