NYCFC kept all three points and their home winning streak alive, overcoming a visiting D.C. United 3-2.

Yankee Stadium is never kind to D.C. United, and tonight was no exception. An early two-goal lead for the hosts and a bevy of injuries all set up a challenging match, continuing the unfortunate tradition of the Black-and-Red being unable to pull out a win in the Bronx.

The tight quarters in Yankee Stadium are sometimes (most of the time) hard for visitors to settle into, giving NYC an undeniable advantage. Throughout the first half, City capitalized on this advantage to quickly pick its way through D.C.’s defense.

In the 17′, Talles Magno lobbed a close-range shot past Tyler Miller to stun the Black-and-Red. The play immediately went to VAR for a possible offside, but in the end, Magno’s goal ended up on the board to give the hosts the lead.

NYCFC’s attack wouldn’t quit, with Matí Pellegrini coming in hot to make another attempt in the 21′. Santiago Rodríguez had Pellegrini’s back on the assist, taking advantage of a fast break to overwhelm D.C. United. Thankfully, the opportunity was missed. Tayvon Gray would take his own chance minutes later, attempting to convert a corner in the 25′. It would take NYCFC a bit longer to strike again.

Christian Benteke set up Nigel Robertha in the 27′ to take a shot on Luis Barraza. Unfortunately, Robertha’s shot didn’t find the back of the net – Barraza stopped the shot to deny the Black-and-Red.

Rodríguez went from facilitating shots to scoring goals in the 37′ when he flung a through ball by Gabriel Pereira past Miller to double NYCFC’s lead. His goal would close out the half, sending D.C. to the locker room empty handed.

After the half, D.C. United’s response to NYCFC was immediate, with Benteke whipping in a header right away in the 46′. The goal was enough to stun NYC and put them off their pace enough for the Black-and-Red to take some control back in the match. Arguably, D.C.’s performance improved significantly after Benteke’s goal, with the second-half performance outshining the first 45′.

Thiago Andrade found a very dangerous third goal in the 88′ that would end up denying D.C. a point on the road. He snuck into the bottom right corner with Rodríguez on the assist again.

Steve Birnbaum tucked one away in the 90′ for the Black-and-Red, capitalizing on a corner to find the back of the net with his signature header. Mateusz Klich provided the assist with his exceptional service.

While the nine minutes of stoppage time wasn’t enough for the Black-and-Red to tie up the match, they put in a convincing fight to the finish. It wasn’t enough though, to break through NYCFC’s home winning streak and find D.C.’s first three points in the Bronx. Thankfully, the Black-and-Red won’t have to see Yankee Stadium for the remainder of the regular 2023 season.

D.C. United returns to Audi Field to face New England Revolution on March 25 at 7:30 pm ET. Make sure you wear your cherry blossom gear!

Three Takeaways

  • Benteke always shows up. Christian Benteke is a dangerous player, make no mistake. He consistently creates chances for the Black-and-Red, finding opportunities in the box in every single match. His goal in the 46′ reignited D.C. toward a comeback against NYC.
  • Don’t underestimate Steve Birnbaum. Birnbaum tucked away a header in the 90′ to keep the hope alive for the Black-and-Red. He regularly converts corner kicks, to the point we’re laughing if the opposition isn’t obsessively marking him.
  • Little mistakes have big repercussions. MLS teams are getting sharper, smarter, and faster. Small defensive errors or lacking accuracy make all the difference in the outcome of a match. To be strong playoff contenders, the Black-and-Red will need to tighten up.

Watch the highlights from Team Name vs. D.C. United 

Box Score

MLS Regular Season – Game 4

NYCFC: 3 Magno 17′, Rodríguez 37′, Andrade 88′

D.C. United: 2 Benteke 46′, Birnbaum 90′


NYCFC: Luis Barraza, Braian Cufré, Maxime Chanot, Thiago Martins, Tayvon Gray, James Sands, Santiago Rodríguez, Gabriel Pereira (Alfredo Morales 68′), Keaton Parks, Matías Pellegrini, Talles Magno (Thiago 80′) 

D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Ruan (Jacob Greene 46′), Derrick Williams, Mohanad Jeahze (Matai Akinmboni 60′), Steven Birnbaum, Russell Canouse (Victor Pálsson 46′), Chris Durkin, Ted Ku-DiPietro, Mateusz Klich, Nigel Robertha (Pedro Santos 46′) (Yamil Asad 78′), Christian Benteke

Misconduct Summary

NYCFC: Rodríguez 53′, Pellegrini 73′

D.C. United: Canouse 8′, Pálsson 49′, Jeahze 58′

Featured image courtesy of D.C. United, Hannah Wagner

BySarah Kallassy

Managing Editor

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John London

Ted KDP was a boss in this game. He single handedly drove play sometimes in the first half, and he was all over the place putting in work. I always thought Taxi would push him to the bench, but KDP seems to have locked up Santos’s wing spot, and it’s Robertha or Santos to the bench.

Was disappointed in Canouse in first half but surprised to see him subbed. No one seemed to want to use him as a passing outlet in the first half. He may not start for a while.

Miller takes a ton of risks, but they seem to be working out right now.

Will Nelson

Canouse was also sitting on a yellow at that point. He likes to get stuck in, so there was a decent chance he’d pick up a 2nd and get sent off.


I’ll just say that I can’t wait until NYC has their new stadium. Playing soccer at Yankee Stadium is like playing baseball at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Nobody would have attempted hat through ball on the first goal because there is no way an outside back would be in that position on a real field. On the third NYC goal, you couldn’t execute that double team so fast without leaving yourself open.

Touches that would normally be safely to space become numbers up breaks going the other way. Forward touches that would normally to too long and lead to a turnover become the start of a break.

Guys get injured on the high, spongy grass and the chippy stuff from the close quarters.

Nothing much to learn tactically from that field. Take the chemistry with Benteke going forward and the fight.

Brendan Cartwright

I’m just waiting for NYCFC to keep the same pitch dimensions when they move into their new stadium.

Talonesque #

This was a difficult game for overall team evaluation for two main reasons: Firstly, the size of the field makes the game unlike any we will play in the sport if we were to play practically anywhere worldwide, and secondly, NY were asleep for the first play that led to the goal and then wholly undisciplined for what followed. Some of the young players showed well, Jeahze continues to not be very good at stopping attacks, Benteke is motivated and crying out for a decent second attacker near him, and we nearly pulled off a result that would have seemed impossible after the half. It’s good to see the team fight back.

All that said, I mean it when I say we play like an underdog in a movie without the plot armor. This team needs drama to get into gear, the kind that comes from being down in the scoresheet. We’ve certainly been the dominant team on the field for relatively long periods so far, but can anyone honestly say that we’ve been effective when the game state isn’t desperate? We’ve seen four games now, and that’s been an established pattern.

Last season, especially under Ashton, we hung our heads and didn’t get back into it. No question that this frenzied approach is easier on the eyes, but if we bring any analysis to bear, it’s pretty clear that this is a dynamic that needs to change in order to get points in the standings. Even Rooney might not be able to motivate players if the playoffs become far away.


I went to the match. My takeaways are:
1) Yankee stadium is the worst venue for soccer. Besides the obvious, out-sized home field advantage that our NYCFC counterparts would downplay, the sight-lines are awful. I had tickets at midfield, about as close to the touch line as you can be, and still couldn’t see much at all. Your sense of the match is totally skewed by the dimensions of the pitch, the shape of the baseball diamond, and the angle of the field wrt you. Can’t wait until they finally get out of that terrible venue, and honestly would prefer if the next 3 seasons in Harrison when possible.

2) The team actually could have tied that game, and probably should have. Not much more to add here, but I’m glad to see us continue to attack after being beaten down to try to get a result; I also wish we didn’t concede stupid mistake goals like the second one.

3) Santiago Rodríguez became public enemy number 1 in 45 minutes; god what a flopper. In-person, it was so clear how much simulation is part of his game. Makes me sick.

4) Ruan made so many incomprehensible decisions. I’m glad Wayne pulled him. It was unacceptable play.


I was feeling a little down on Rooney before the match and decided to stop watching early in the first half (a certain recent comment about Thierry Henry stuck in my mind), but I’m glad to see that he made changes and there was some improvement.


Moral victories are still losses on the scoresheet. Last night Robertha and Ruan demonstrated a collective soccer IQ of zero. Both should sit for a very long time. Robertha failed his defensive responsibilities when Durkin rotated inside to clog the middle. Make the mistake once, OK, Make it your go to move and you sit. Ruan looked like a guy in a soccer kit who was asked to just stand around a look like a soccer player. Thanks Dumpster Diving Dave to picking up a guy surplus to requirements at his old team. Maybe they knew something you didn’t (the story of Kasper’s existence).
Jacob Greene should be the presumptive starter until Andy returns. Canouse was poor, but Palsson wasn’t much better. I don’t like the short term O’Brien loan, but he can’t be worse than those two in the middle.
Greene and Akinmboni impressed me the most. Greene just did his job with no drama. Akinmboni showed real guts and class. Thrown out there at age 16 and not his natural position, he held his own (and probably got a broken nose in the process). Kudos to both of them.


I agree with Sarah’s 3 points. Good article Sarah and I appreciate how frequently and how timely the DP Team has been getting content up.

On to Talonesque’s point about playing better when behind: I think the issue here is the team hasn’t learned how to play possession ball. So we pass by opportunities, we take a second or third touch to be sure and control the ball. But when it’s late and we’re behind, we push a little more, there is a little more “one-touch” ball (because space is confined. I think the issue isn’t about playing behind, it’s we need to get better at playing possession but moving the ball quickly.

I think Canouse continues to start because Palsson with with Iceland for the next 10 days or so. And it’s encouraging, VERY encouraging how the young guys (Ku-DePietro, Akinmboni, Greene) have continued to contribute. You can see TKDP’s confidence continue to grow–I bet Rooney has told him to go out there and boss the match, play assertively.


Agreed about our lack of comfort in possession. Besides the mental side, I think we’re still lacking in individual technique. Santos and Andy have their flaws, but they have excellent ball control. They’re confident when they receive the ball whether the team is ahead or not. Most everyone else, as you said, takes those extra seconds to settle down because they aren’t as sharp, but going down forces them to take risks.


Addendum – Klich is also very tidy and reliable receiving and passing the ball. I kinda just put him out of mind since I haven’t internally yelled at him for a bad touch lol


Runs his butt off, too, covers a lot of ground for a slow guy. I’ve been pleased with Klich, love his mentality, work rate and calmness on the ball.

Matt Glad

I’m not going to repeat what everyone has already said, but I will say props to Wayne for making those 3 changes that 100% changed the game after half. Greene looked solid so I hope he gets more looks at RB. KDP is so good in tight spaces. I’m still liking what Wayne’s doing with the team. One big issue, though, is DC has conceded first in all 4 of its games this season. That’s how you lose a lot of games.

Lastly, can someone enlighten me as to whether or not hands to the face is still a straight red? Rodriguez is a flopper his pushing Klich’s gave away just shows he’s dirty player.

Brendan Cartwright

Two odd Jacob Greene facts.

1) Despite making his debut, only Steve Birnbaum, Russell Canouse, and Donovan Pines have been on the senior roster continuously for a longer time than Greene. Dude is a veteran.

2) Greene is the fourth player to take the field for United whose last name starts with “Gr-.” All four of those players – Jordan Graye, Jacob Greene, Julian Gressel, and Josh Gros – have first names that start with J.


ha great esoteric ‘stat’ there.


I think I like this team, they’ll be easy to cheer for. Definitely undermanned most nights, but they don’t seem to see that as an excuse to loaf. I could see an Open Cup run from this team, why not? I’ll take another trophy, I don’t care as much what form it’s in.

Brendan Cartwright

I was thinking back to how this team really took the Open Cup seriously, at least when I started paying attention when they won it in 2008, and through their win in 2013. And then… they just couldn’t be bothered. I think that since 2013 they’ve only beaten one MLS team in the competition. And they certainly haven’t won all their games against lower league teams either. I’d love to see them at least get to the quarterfinals.

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