On this day in 2017, Paul Arriola and Russell Canouse arrived in our nation’s capital. In the middle of a down season for the Black-and-Red, the duo immediately provided Head Coach Ben Olsen with promising options in the midfield. Just three days after joining D.C. United, the new signings were in the lineup for the 1-0 defeat against Real Salt Lake on August 12, as Arriola played the entire 90 minutes, while Canouse was an unused substitute.
Since joining D.C. United, Arriola has been used as Ben Olsen’s Swiss Army Knife due to his versatility which has allowed him to succeed in a variety of positions. After making the switch from Club Tijuana in Mexico, the California native proved to be an important addition as he went on to start the remaining 11 games of the 2017 season for the Black-and-Red. Arriola’s first two assists for his new club came in the 4-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on September 23, 2017, as he set up Patrick Mullins on both occasions. The winger would have to wait until the last game of his debut season to bag his first goal as he opened the scoring for United after he volleyed home a cross to give United the 1-0 lead against the New York Red Bulls.
In his second season for the Black-and-Red, Arriola played a major role in helping D.C. United go from last place the season before to a fourth-place finish and a playoff appearance. During the 2018 season, Arriola made 28 appearances scoring seven goals while finishing second on the team with eight assists. Due to his solid performances, Arriola was named in MLS Team of the Week on five occasions. In 2019, Arriola has continued to contribute for the Black-and-Red, despite missing time while representing the USMNT at the Gold Cup. Arriola has made 20 appearances scoring four goals and setting up two more. His game-winning goal in the 77th minute of the 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on May 12 was nominated for AT&T Goal of the Week, while he has also been named in MLS Team of the Week three times this season.
Russell Canouse joined D.C. United from German side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and provided the Black-and-Red with defensive stability and composure in the midfield. In his debut season, Canouse started the final ten games for Ben Olsen’s squad, shining in his defensive midfield role. The Pennsylvania native made 35 tackles, 18 interceptions, and 15 clearances, showing his ability to disrupt opposing attacks and spark counter attacks for United. Canouse proved he can control the game in the middle of the field for the Black-and-Red as he created six chances and provided one assist in just 10 games.
During his second season in MLS, Canouse solidified his role as D.C. United’s enforcer in the middle of the park. The midfielder made 20 appearances for the Black-and-Red and proved to be vital to United’s resurgence in the Eastern Conference. Defensively, Canouse was once again a nuisance for the opposition, as he was second on the team with 51 tackles despite missing time due to various injuries throughout the season. He scored his first and only goal for the Black-and-Red in the 86th minute to give United a 1-0 victory against FC Dallas on October 13, 2018. Canouse was named in MLS Team of the Week four times during his first full season in MLS. To start the 2019 season, Canouse has carried over his form from 2018 as he has made 21 appearances so far for the Black-and-Red while leading the team with 53 tackles.
Arriola and Canouse have proved to be excellent acquisitions by general manager Dave Kasper as they have both become mainstays in the starting lineup since arriving in 2017. The Black-and-Red will need these two to help D.C. United in their pursuit of their fifth MLS Cup.