Paul Arriola made his 50th regular season appearance for the Black-and-Red in the 3-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC on May 4, 2019. Arriola marked this milestone with his 10th career goal for the Black-and-Red in the 61st minute. The USMNT midfielder has become a key cog in the United XI since joining the team in 2017.
The California native began his professional career in Mexico with Dorados de Sinaloa where he scored two goals in four games during the 2013/14 season. After the season, Arriola transferred to Liga MX side Club Tijuana and went on to make over 100 appearances for the club, scoring nine goals and recording three assists. Following three impressive seasons in Tijuana and a USMNT debut, Arriola signed with D.C. United halfway through the 2017 MLS season.
During his debut MLS season, Arriola made 11 appearances for the Black-and-Red scoring one goal and assisting two more. In his first full season in MLS in 2018, Arriola made 28 appearances and was instrumental in helping D.C. United return to the playoffs after finishing in last place the season before. Arriola showcased his talents as the season progressed recording career highs in both goals (7) and assists (8).
In 2019, Arriola has started every game for United through 11 matches. Since joining the Black-and-Red, Arriola has been a mainstay in the starting lineup due to his ability to play multiple positions on the field. Head coach Ben Olsen has utilized Arriola’s versatility lining him up at his preferred midfield role, or at either outside back position when needed. Due to various injuries to the squad, Arriola has been tasked with playing out of position and has filled in admirably as an outside back helping D.C. United to five clean sheets in 11 matches. So far this season, Arriola has made 17 tackles and 12 interceptions for the Black-and-Red showing he is just as capable of a defender as he is in attack.
While Arriola has shown that he is a capable defender, it is in his preferred midfield role where he feels most effective. In the season opener against reigning MLS Cup champions Atlanta United on March 3, Arriola scored the opening goal just before the half to lead D.C. United to a 2-0 victory over the 2018 MLS Cup Champions at Audi Field. Despite splitting time between defense and midfield, the 24-year-old has created ten chances this season and continues to be an instrumental piece to United’s on-field success.