On Wednesday night, D.C. United will take a break from MLS play and face off against Ligue 1 side Olympique de Marseille at Audi Field. The friendly is part of preseason training for Marseille and will give the Black-and-Red an opportunity to test their strength against a European side. Here is everything you need to know about D.C. United’s next opponent.
EA Ligue 1 Tournament
Olympique de Marseille (OM) are coming off a first-place finish at the inaugural EA Ligue 1 preseason tournament held at Audi Field last week. In the first set of games, Marseille beat Bourdeaux 2-1 with both goals coming from former West Ham striker Dimitri Payet. On Sunday, they competed for the tournament title against AS Saint-Etienne. Payet opened up scoring in the 12th minute, but ASSE equalized just five minutes later. In the end, it was 77th-minute strike from Nemanja Radonjic that gave Marseille the title.
OM finished 5th in Ligue 1 last season with an 18-7-13 record. Florian Thauvin led the team in scoring with 16 goals but missed out on this tournament after getting injured against the Rangers in a friendly in Scotland. Dimitri Payet has scored almost as many goals in this tournament as he did in the entirety of the 2018-2019 campaign, with just four goals in 31 games that season.
In terms of defense, OM finished the 2018-2019 campaign with 12 clean sheets in 38 games played. Their starting goalkeeper is Steve Mandanda, who has been named the Ligue 1 goalkeeper of the year twice and won a title with Marseille in 2009-2010.
Marseille went out in the Group Stage of UEFA’s Europa League, finishing in 4th place in a group that included Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga), Lazio (Serie A), and Apollon Limassol (Cypirot First Division). Their Coupe de France appearance was also not noteworthy, going out in the Round of 64.
Olympique de Marseille is one of the most widely supported sides in France. They were founded in 1899 and have spent most of their existence playing in the top tier of French football. They have won ten league titles, ten Coupe de France titles, and three Coupes de la Ligue. Their main rivalry is against Paris Saint-Germain, who they face in Le Classique.
The club is owned by American businessman and former L.A. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who took over the team in 2016. He appointed Rudi Garcia as manager, but in May 2019, Andre Villas-Boas was announced to be taking over the Ligue 1 side on a two-year contract. The team plays at Stade Velodrome and regularly draws crowds of over 50,000 people. Amongst their most notable supporters is French President Emmanuel Macron.