D.C. United face expansion MLS franchise Nashville FC for the fifth game of the 2020 preseason and the first time in club history. In their last preseason friendly, the Black-and-Red defeated Orlando City SC 1-0 on Feb. 15 with the only goal coming from Loudoun United’s Michael Gamble. United recorded their second consecutive clean sheet in the process.
After experimenting with multiple lineups and formations in 2019, the Black-and-Red are looking for continuity in their starting lineup heading into 2020. Defensively, Steven Birnbaum and Frédéric Brillant have provided stability in the heart of defense for the Black-and-Red. The duo helped United to a league-high 14 clean sheets in 2019 and have appeared in 64 matches together over the past two seasons. When healthy, Joseph Mora has been a reliable first choice left back, while Russell Canouse has performed well while playing out of position in a right back role. Despite playing just eight matches together in 2019, Júnior Moreno and Felipe Martins have formed a solid partnership in the middle of the park for the Black-and-Red. The Venezuelan and the Brazilian compliment each other's style of play and have formed an understanding which has resulted in some impressive performances for United.
While in attack, United are still waiting to have all of their options available. New arrivals Yamil Asad and Edison Flores are still recovering from injuries, while Ola Kamara has made just one appearance this preseason. In the match against Orlando, Homegrown midfielders Kevin Paredes and Griffin Yow continued to make the most out of their opportunities. In the 77th minute, Paredes latched on to a long-ball down the left flank and connected with Yow who set up Gamble for his second goal of the preseason. Paredes and Yow are both participating in their first preseasons with the Black-and-Red as they look to earn playing time heading into the regular season.
Nashville SC are preparing for their inaugural season in MLS after finishing the 2019 season with a 20-7-7 record in the USL Championship. Head Coach Gary Smith has been in charge of Nashville since 2018, bringing loads of experience both as a player and a coach. German midfielder Hany Mukhtar became the club's first designated player, while Nashville made a blockbuster trade with LAFC for 2019 MLS All-Star defender Walker Zimmerman.
The match will be held at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater, Fla., at 6 PM ET.