On Thursday, D.C. United will face off in a friendly match against the newest side to join MLS, FC Cincinnati. The match comes less than a week after their first friendly against USL side Bethlehem Steel FC, which resulted in a 1-0 win for the Black-and-Red.
In the early stages, preseason is mostly about teammates getting to know each other and learning how to operate together on the field. In the match against Bethlehem, early signs of that cohesion could be seen. Many players were playing in the Black-and-Red jersey for the first time, including Lucas Rodríguez, Leonardo Jara, Akeem Ward, Donovan Pines, Earl Edwards Jr., and Antonio Bustamante.
The MLS preseason is about getting players’ fitness levels prepared for the grind of the regular season. But it’s also about competing for starting spots and places on the roster. In the game against Bethlehem Steel, a handful of academy players and trialists came on as second-half substitutes.
FC Cincinnati are preparing for their inaugural MLS campaign. But their roster features some familiar faces from around MLS, including former D.C. United striker Darren Mattocks. A match against them will be an early test for the Black-and-Red. It will also be the first match for Paul Arriola, Russell Canouse, and Joseph Mora, who missed the friendly against Bethlehem Steel while on international duty.
The match against FC Cincinnati will be played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Kickoff is at 7:00 PM ET. The game is open to the public.
To reserve your seats for the 2019 Audi Field Home Opener against the reigning MLS Champions, Atlanta United on March 3, click here!