Image: Quincy

Amarikwa provides vital veteran leadership for the Black-and-Red

Quincy Amarikwa has become a leader both on and off the field for D.C. United.  With 216 appearances under his belt, Amarikwa is one of the most experienced players in the league which comes with an extensive understanding of how to be impactful in MLS.  The 31-year-old has become a role model for younger members of the team as he uses his experience to help elevate his teammates.
After being selected 32nd overall out of UC Davis by the San Jose Earthquakes in 2009, Amarikwa has proved himself as an effective target man using his athleticism to hold the ball for his team in order to bring other players into the attack. The striker’s most productive season came in 2014 with the Chicago Fire when he scored eight goals and recorded five assists in 32 appearances.  
D.C. United acquired Amarikwa as a free agent prior to the 2019 season.  In his first season with the Black-and-Red, Amarikwa has provided important depth for United and has consistently brought energy off the bench. In the match against the New England Revolution on July 12, the California native was brought on as a substitute in the 82nd minute with the team down 2-1.  Just four minutes after coming on, Amarikwa leveled the score with an acrobatic volley off a Wayne Rooney free-kick to help D.C. United rescue an important point at Audi Field.  His goal was later nominated for AT&T Goal of the Week.
The veteran started his 100th MLS Regular Season match in the 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy on August 12.  Amarikwa filled in admirably for an ill Wayne Rooney, taking over the number nine role against one of the tougher teams in MLS.  In the 28th minute, Amarikwa provided the assist for Paul Arriola’s opening goal.  The 31-year-old was a nuisance for the entirety of the match as he constantly applied pressure on the opposition in the attacking third and was a source of frustration for Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his defensive duties. Amarikwa prides himself on the mental side of the game and his mastery of the dark arts were enough to stifle Ibrahimovic who has scored 18 goals in 20 appearances in 2019.  Leading from the front, Amarikwa raised the intensity of a D.C. United team that were desperate for a win at Audi Field ahead of a tough road stretch.
“The guys have been working really hard and we wanted to come out and prove a point of where we are at in the season,” Amarikwa said after the game. “Don’t take us lightly.  If you do, it’s a mistake.  If you come, we are ready.  I think tonight that’s what that was and we are looking forward to a run at the playoffs this year.” 
Amarikwa’s experience in MLS could prove to be vital in D.C. United’s battle for a playoff spot, with an understanding of what it takes to win after lifting the MLS Cup with the Colorado Rapids in 2010. The veteran’s mentality and resilience will be an important component for the Black-and-Red as they continue their quest for a fifth MLS Cup.