D.C. United (7-6-4, 27 points) sit in third place in the Eastern Conference heading into the international break. An injury laden start to their season has made a consistent starting XI difficult but has also allowed young prospects and new names to shine in the Black-and-Red.
First-year center back, Donovan Pines made his debut in April against Colorado shortly after Head Coach Ben Olsen called upon him to start three of the next four matches for United. Newcomers, Lucas Rodríguez, and Leonardo Jara have both been pillars in the starting XI for United this season. Jara has collected four assists in 15 games played (14 starts). While Rodríguez has knocked in two goals and assisted twice this season in 16 games played (15 starts).
Striker Wayne Rooney has led the way for United with eight goals and five assists in the regular season. He leads the team in both categories. Rooney has enjoyed the setup role this season as he currently sits in second place in MLS for chances created with 48 - just five behind LAFC’s Carlos Vela (53). Luciano Acosta has pitched in five goals and two assists, the Argentine is riding a two-game goal streak prior to the U.S. Open Cup.
Steven Birnbaum and Frédéric Brillant have been the go-to, center back pairing for D.C. United. The defensive duo is currently first and second in the league in headed clearances this season, Brillant (51) and Birnbaum (47) and overall clearances Brillant (108) and Birnbaum (87). These two also are listed in the top five in total blocks this season - Brillant (16 blocks, T-3) and Birnbaum (15 blocks, T-4). The California native is also tied for the league lead with C.J. Sapong in Aerials won with 73. Bill Hamid is one of the top goalkeepers in MLS and his numbers this season reflect that. Hamid leads MLS in saves (67) and is currently in second place in shutouts with seven.
This season has also featured the return of defender, Chris Odoi-Atsem who has conquered his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma after nearly a year-and-a-half of medical treatments and rest. Odoi-Atsem made his return to professional soccer as a substitute in the 68th minute during Loudoun United FC’s match against Charlotte. The Maryland native then made his D.C. United return in a friendly match against La Liga side, Real Betis in May. He has also appeared in United’s last two games - started and played 68 minutes against Chicago and was a 68th minute substitute against San Jose on June 1.
D.C. United made it to the round of 16 in the 2019 U.S. Open Cup, but fell 1-2 last night to New York City FC. United returns to Audi Field to start the second half of the season on Wednesday, June 26. Celebrate the ninth annual United Night Out with us - tickets are still available here.