D.C. United and Columbus Crew haven’t met since last summer, but a whole lot has changed since they played to a 2-2 draw at Audi Field. Today, D.C. will play in the Crew’s home opener and hope for a better result than their last visit to Columbus, a 3-0 loss.

In the District, Wayne Rooney has truly settled in and has set about rebuilding the roster and mentality of the Black-and-Red. He said that he knew, “obviously, what I was coming into was going to be very difficult, but it really allowed me to see the changes that I wanted to make from both a player point of view and a staff point of view.”

Wilfried Nancy joined the Crew as their new head coach after his tenure at CF Montréal and is now prepared for his first home match at Lower.com Field in front of faithful supporters. Former D.C. United coach Hernán Losada took over the job in Montréal.

In a week of shakeups, the Black-and-Red welcomed back Yamil Asad while the Crew acquired center back Gustavo Vallecilla on loan from the Colorado Rapids. Both are available for today’s match, and Rooney said to the media that Asad may be on the bench for today’s match.

For new D.C. United player Pedro Santos, it will be a kind of bittersweet homecoming as he prepares to play against his former club. The Black-and-Red are hopeful he’ll be scoring for our side today.

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Who do you think will take home the points tonight? Tell us in the comments!x

Check out what Wayne Rooney had to say ahead of the match:

Key Players: Christian Benteke, Mateusz Klich, Ted Ku-DiPietro

While Benteke, Klich, and Ku-DiPietro put D.C. on the board last match, the truth is danger can come from anywhere in the Black-and-Red lineup these days. We’re looking forward to seeing who steps up tonight for D.C. United.

Watch Out For: Cucho Hernández and Darlington Nagbe

While Cucho, Nagbe, and Santos gave D.C. trouble on their last visit to Columbus, Santos has switched sides. We’re interested to see how Nancy lines up the Crew today for his first home match.

Challenges: The faithful supporters at Lower.com Field are expected to max out attendance for the home opener, D.C. United will need to lean into their tough mentality as they chase 3 points.

Previously: The Black-and-Red won their home opener last weekend 3-2, with Ted Ku-DiPietro scoring the winning goal in the dying moments of the match against Toronto. The Crew wasn’t so lucky in their first match of the 2023 season, losing 4-1 in Philadelphia. In their last meeting on July 13, 2022, D.C. and the Crew played to a 2-2 draw at Audi Field. When D.C. last visited Columbus, they suffered a 3-0 loss – a scoreline they hope to flip this time around.

Columbus Crew Availability:

Out: Christian Ramirez (foot)

Questionable: Will Sands (back spasm)

D.C. United Availability:

Out: Brendan Hines-Ike (foot), Martin Rodriguez (knee), Taxi Fountas (thigh)

Location: Lower.com Field, Columbus, Ohio

Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET

Referee: Marcos DeOliveira

Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

BySarah Kallassy

Managing Editor

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Talonesque #

Ah, thanks, Sarah! Was hoping there would be a dedicated thread!

If those are the only players out officially, we at least should be able to choose whether Akinmboni starts again, and what becomes of Palsson. I normally feel like predicting these lineups, but today, I’m just sure the DP’s start, probably Jeahaze and Santos, and hopefully Birbaum, and that’s about it. I have preferences, for sure, like Canouse at DM, Hopkins at RM, and Robertha getting another chance to start to unleash TKD again… this is going on to long, this is a tough opponent away, let’s do this.

Vamos United!!!

Talonesque #

Anyway, maybe y’all do yourselves a favor, and watch the extended highlights on youtube of Arsenal vs Bournemouth in the EPL. Unless you hate the sublime.

Talonesque #

Sincere apologies, I was pretty confident they’d want to put them out faster

Edit they’re up now, it’s possible I can’t post them here

Last edited 9 months ago by Talonesque #
Talonesque #

And they’re up,

https://youtu.be/fE8NnBxyxAY

Sunspot

Chucho is probably gonna eat us alive despite our beat efforts, so it’ll be a matter of putting the ball in the back of the net multiple times – just my thoughts. Gotta do a better job of holding the ball this time to minimize his and Nagbe’s influence on the game.

Talonesque #

We’re almost certainly seeing a new starting CB pairing that has never played a regular season game together, so I think you’re right about Hernandez- If he’s on, our chances become slim. More than anything, seems like we should absolutely capitalize better on periods of dominance- the first half against Toronto, with as bad as Toronto actually played, more goals or at least a continuation of the first half should have happened.

wildbramble

Is Lower.com Field the worst current stadium name in MLS?

Talonesque #

RSL plays at “America First Field.” Just saying.

Matt Glad

Not a fan of Palsson/Birnbaum pairing. Very little mobility and recovery speed. Fingers crossed their experience makes up for it. Vamos!

Talonesque #

Interesting. Same starting lineup as last week, worth the exception of Birnbaum for Akinmboni. I wonder how entrenched Durkin is in Rooney’s thinking, this would indicate that he’s got credit in the bank. We’ll see if it lasts.

Sunspot

Is anyone else’s feed just the Miami game?

Talonesque #

Huh, yeah. They must have ucked fup.

wildbramble

Yes, very confused.

Matt Glad

Same.

Chris Knittel

Is the Apple+ stream showing Miami/Union instead of DC for anyone else?

wildbramble

Yes.

Talonesque #

So good of them to show kickoff, I’d of hated to get any build up.

Talonesque #

Feed is pretty jerky with the frames per second for me

Chris Knittel

Well good to see our defense is still terrible…

Matt Glad

Of course Columbus scores on their first chance. DC firmly in control thus far and caught napping by Zelarayan.

Talonesque #

Well, shit. Zelarayon rolls Canouse pretty easily, gets off a goal.

Will Nelson

Cucho and Zelarayan are tearing us apart.

Joel

Hi! This is garbaggio.

I hope the game works out well. I would also worry about Zelarayan if he is playing. I don’t really have a way of following the team’s games right now but will watch the YouTube highlights if they get posted on Tuesday or Wednesday like they were last week.

This site looks great and I’ve been lurking for a week or so.

Let me know if anyone knows of a simple how-to guide for the WordPress sign in process. I would like to keep my garbaggio handle. WordPress says the user name already exists but I don’t remember setting up an account. Old password doesn’t work.

While typing this I remembered the over the air radio transmission so I have tuned into the wonderful warbly staticky voices of Tony Limarzi (I think) and Dave Johnson.

I’m not a robot.

Talonesque #

Honestly, the only way I found to keep my user name was to create a separate google profile and use my username for the name.

Sunspot

I haven’t been able to use the WordPress sign-in since the comments got upgraded. I just type my handle in every time I comment 🤷‍♂️

Talonesque #

Geez, Najar and Palsson are getting slashed by Cucho.

Chris Knittel

Najar’s 1v1 defending is…bad

Will Nelson

We’re headed towards coughing up another goal before we score at this rate.

Talonesque #

Are we allowed to have solid defenders and fast wingers?

Will Nelson

No otherwise Darth Garber would pay too much attention to shutting down our opportunities.

Will Nelson

Makeup call for the non-corner that started that attack?

wildbramble

I have absolutely loved Lloyd Sam’s contributions tonight to the commentary tonight.

Dave20194

Agree, but the PBP guy is mildly annoying.

Talonesque #

He’s been good. I’d still rather listen to Dave.

Will Nelson

Come on handball damn it.

Talonesque #

That’s game, most likely

Matt Glad

Columbus being painfully clinical with their chances. Also throwing numbers forward with reckless abandon. This game is begging for the young kids to hit on the counter.

Sunspot

We’re not mentally quick enough to deal with Columbus. They play extremely fast and vertical – possession be damned, they’re trying to get the ball in the back of the net. And they’ve got the skill and speed to get it up the pitch very quickly.

Matt Glad

The lack of awareness with Columbus’ off-the-shoulder runs is painful to watch. It’s the same ball being played over and over and over.

Talonesque #

The solidity and compactness of the 4-4-2 could, um, use work

WPHIII

Does Palsson know about the offside law?

Talonesque #

That’s information available only a “need to bench” basis

Talonesque #

We’re not looking awesome for long stretches against any team with an ounce of intensity. Toronto in the first half didn’t apply

Matt Glad

DC has been fine. Columbus has scored on 2/3 of their good chances. According to xG the score is 1-1 (I know that’s meaningless but not nothing). We all knew the defense wouldn’t be great, unfortunately we’re being proven correct.

Talonesque #

The actual shots are low percentage, not the vulnerabilities.

Talonesque #

At this point, I’d seriously consider using two subs on our fullbacks, bring on Ruan and push Santos back to left back. We need know how and consistency of play on the line.

Last edited 9 months ago by Talonesque #
Chris Knittel

Have we had an attack even use our left side? I dont remember seeing Jeahze do…anything

Talonesque #

We’ve definitely focused on the right or long balls. We simply have no control or composure to even feel like it’s a choice, at this point.

Chris Knittel

Its crazy we’ve got two strikers up top that could feed off service from the wings and when the balls go to the wings…it goes to die.

Talonesque #

Hopkins and TKD on. I wonder if we’re going for a 4-2-3-1?

Will Nelson

So uhh only DCU players can be guilty of hand balls? Cause it definitely looked like a handball in the build up to Cbus’ 2nd goal.

Talonesque #

I think we’ve switched formations

Chris Knittel

Some sort of 4-3-3 at this point? If so its not quite working

Last edited 9 months ago by Chris Knittel
Talonesque #

It’s a bit of a 4-1-1-4 so far

Talonesque #

Actually, take it back, looks like Hopkins is playing as a CM in a 4-2-3-1

Matt Glad

WHAT A DIVE!!! WHY CANT VAR LOOK AT THAT!?!?

Talonesque #

Gotta say, we all have bad games, Jeahze has not looked TAM worthy tonight.

Matt Glad

Lloyd Sam: “DC’s two strikers are kind of similar style guys. I usually like a smaller guy that will run around and bring something extra to pair with the bigger striker”

If only we had a DP striker like that. Do you homework guys.

Talonesque #

You normally want perception and straightforward insight from a play by play commentator. Wow, this guy is truly inept.

Chris Knittel

Jesus I really cannot figure out why we’re not switching the field. The left side is often comically wide open and we just…dont go there

Matt Glad

I said it after last game and I’ll say it again here. These first 5-6 games are essentially extended preseason. DC wasn’t great, but they weren’t terrible. Columbus hit DC on the break and converted two chances thanks to their best XI DP. Columbus isn’t a bad team. MLS kept praising Philly for winning 4-1, but two of those goals were generous penalties.

Also keep in mind we are still missing our best player and best finisher. I’ll implore the rest of the commentariat to save the “sky is falling” or “wooden spoon again” remarks.

Cavan

It’s hard to be the voice of reason in-game. Better to wait until the game ends or until the recap. The commentariat calms down by then and can talk nuanced ups and downs.

Talonesque #

You two should get a job picking cherries, finding mostly positives from that.

Matt Glad

It’s game 2, Talonesque. No one is saying watching DC lose is fun, but it’s also too early to say “seasons over” like you seem to be doing.

Talonesque #

Maybe read what I write, you “seem” to not have. I’m describing our play this game, not the season. I think we can reshuffle and do better, but acting like there’s a lot to build on without doing so is not nuance.

Matt Glad

I don’t think anyone will disagree with that. Your comment looked at have been typed with some venom.

Talonesque #

I’m allowed to be dismayed by an inept performance. Keep shooting at the straw man.

Matt Glad

No one is saying you can’t. No need to take out your anger fellow commenters. We’re all friends here.

Talonesque #

I find this disingenuous when people mock those that are negative about a performance that is a pretty clear loss as lacking “nuance.” It’s true, I could maybe let that pass more frequently, but it never ceases.

I don’t find that friendly, I don’t particularly respond to such sentiments with warmth. There are times we’ll all be happy and in agreement, but I personally think it’s worse to adopt contentment with a performance like this than to call out people who are doing so.

Matt Glad

I don’t mean to start an argument, but weren’t you the one that mocked myself and Cavan first for choosing to be positive? I find that hypocritical.

Talonesque #

There’s a lot of tension that boiling over from another blog and last season, at least for me. Perhaps Cavan wasn’t directly referring to commenters like me who disparage losses, but I doubt it.

Matt Glad

I can’t speak for Cavan, but I wasn’t referring to anyone in particular with my post. If I was it was towards the ignorant folks on Instagram that flood the DC posts with nauseating comments. I apologize if you thought I was referring to you because I promise I was not. Everyone handles losses differently no shame in that.

Talonesque #

That’s fair enough, I guess, but I don’t really think fans commiserating after a loss in their own way is a problem. I felt I was commented upon, and comment d back. This might be a new season, last season caused some hard divisions to form. Ah well.

Talonesque #

I think the word that comes to mind most is: Unintentional. Our play was lacking in intention from start to finish, though we were allowed to play our game slightly more when Columbus decided to go into a midblock to see the game out and limit risk.

We were sloppy in our formation, limited in our ideas, desperate in our shape, downright useless in execution.

When you basically are bemoaning a single headed opportunity by Benteke all game, that’s failure.

We knew this would be a tough game, but the fight requires a level of control. We had none.

Cavan

Two (three as our keeper saved one) mistakes and a lack of finishing. Dust off and come back better next week. Not terrible but tons to improve.

Columbus is a two man team and they’ll run out of gas/ideas in the summer. At least they have a good coach.

I liked a lot of DC United’s game. Comfort in possession, good job breaking the funnels the other team set up. I really, really like Benteke’s game. He already (rightfully) attracts double teams is an excellent target. I am salivating to think what the front third will look like with Klitch, Benteke, Fountas, Santos, and Asad all in game shape.

Gotta get on the right side of the other team’s stars, especially when they have no plan B.

Talonesque #

Ultimately, you can find the positive or not, it’s pretty clear to me that we’re wasting minutes with Pedro Santos and Durkin on the wings.

justis107

Chris Durkin was utterly atrocious tonight (yet again). For the love of god do not play him, and if you’re masochistic enough to play him, at least put him in CM. I cannot wait until he’s gone.

Talonesque #

Sadly, I largely think his skill set doesn’t add up to a cohesive or even usable package at this level. He doesn’t know how to defend centrally, so I don’t think CM is a long term solution, either. He cares, and Rooney admires that. I want to root for him, I just think he’s a misfit,

justis107

I agree. And I also do want to root for him. But I’ve seen 4 years of him and it’s never once fit.

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