It was a fun night for D.C. United when they played a friendly against Real Betis on Wednesday night. The starting lineup looked very different than it usually does, with many young players earning some of their first minutes for the side. While the Black-and-Red ultimately lost 5-2, they created some impressive chances and two players earned their first goals for D.C. United.
Griffin Yow was the first to score. The 16-year-old striker who had made just one other appearance for the club came in as a substitute for Ulises Segura in the 31st minute. He scored D.C. United’s first goal of the match at the start of the second half. Yow intercepted the ball off a goalkeeper throw and set up his shot just outside the 18-yard box. The ball took a favorable deflection off a Real Betis defender and soared past the goalkeeper into the far corner of the net. The stadium erupted in cheers.
Quincy Amarikwa, who has been a frequent substitute for D.C. United in MLS matches, also found the back of the net in the 59th minute. Orlando Sinclair took a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper, off the crossbar, and eventually found the head of Amarikwa. He put it into the back of the net for D.C. United’s second goal of the night.
Yow’s overall performance was particularly impressive to Head Coach Ben Olsen.
"I thought he was great tonight,” Olsen said after the match. “That’s why we were keen on signing him and we’re excited to continue working with him to get him to where he needs to be… which is getting real minutes with the first team. He looked comfortable in his own skin out there. He’s clever, technically gifted and has a good feel for the game. We have to work on his physicality and he has some lessons to learn defensively… but he’s going to be fun to work with."
"It was an incredible experience,” Yow said. “Not just to get my first goal but to get my first real minutes on the field and be able to bond with the players and create chemistry with the team. It was incredible."
"I think it's huge for me,” Yow said, speaking about his goal. “It was a confidence builder so when that first game with more than 10 minutes does come around in MLS or maybe something bigger I’ll be ready for it, I’ll be confident and maybe get another goal."
Yow and Amarikwa are likely to factor into D.C. United’s attack as the MLS schedule starts to pick up. On Wednesday night, both players were able to relieve some of the pressure that comes with scoring your first goal and get more comfortable on the pitch. They proved that they can do it once. Hopefully, they will be scoring in many more games for the Black-and-Red.