The Black-and-Red’s evening ended in a deflating 1-2 home loss against the New England Revolution. However, despite the final score, D.C. appears to be a much improved and cohesive team, especially with the return of Taxi Fountas.
D.C.’s head coach Wayne Rooney remained sidelined due to illness, with assistant coach Pete Shuttleworth leading the campaign at Audi Field against Bruce Arena and the Revs. Before the match, Shuttleworth had emphasized confidence in the capability of the players to get the job done, saying, “we feel we’ve got a good group of players, we feel they’re buying into everything we’re asking them to do, and the style of play that we like to implement.” Unfortunately, Bruce Arena’s men still gave the Black-and-Red a dressing down at home.
While New England created danger early in the first half, Gustavo Bou thankfully bungled two close-range opportunities, giving the depleted D.C. squad some time to find their feet. The Revs’ early missteps would pay off for the Black-and-Red.
With some assistance from Jackson Hopkins and Ruan, Christian Benteke sent the Black-and-Red into the half with the lead, lobbing a rocket past Djordje Petrovic in the 45′. With some assistance from Jackson Hopkins and Ruan, Christian Benteke sent the Black-and-Red into the half with the lead, lobbing a rocket past Djordje Petrovic in the 45′.
New England came into the second half swinging, hungry for an opportunity level with D.C. United. A high-impact substitution by Arena would be just what the Revs needed.
Within a minute of entering the match, Carles Gil became a difference-maker. Gil immediately found Bou waiting in the box and supplied an assist to give New England the equalizer in the 63′. Within a minute of entering the match, Carles Gil became a difference-maker. Gil immediately found Bou waiting in the box and supplied an assist to give New England the equalizer in the 63′.
In an effort to bolster the attack, Shuttleworth brought on Taxi Fountas and Yamil Asad from D.C.’s meager bench.
Taxi Fountas returned to the pitch for D.C. United after a prolonged absence due to injury. Although he was only able to play about 25 minutes as a precaution, his signature creativity gave Black-and-Red supporters something to be optimistic about. Shuttleworth said, “we know he’s got that explosivity in the box where he can drive at people and get shots off both feet, and I thought he was gonna score. I think he had a couple of really good half chances, and you know Taxi is a very, very good player, and to have him back and available for selection will be really good.”
Fountas certainly injected momentum into the attack, but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome New England.
In the end, it was 17-year-old Noel Buck that gave the Revs the go-ahead goal and handed them all three points. Capitalizing on a corner kick, Buck managed to slide in a shot past Tyler Miller to put a bow on the game for New England.
D.C. United hits the road again to take on Chicago Fire on April 1 at Soldier Field.
- Christian Benteke continues to deliver. Benteke has been a bright spot in D.C. United’s lineup, especially recently. The veteran attacker’s consistency has been a boon to the Black-and-Red. While we are happy to see him play the danger man, we’re looking for
- Taxi returns, and so does our optimism. Seeing THREE designated players on the field for the Black-and-Red, especially three very competent DPs, makes us feel a certain way. We love it.
- Getting defensive. It’s been clear that the biggest issue in D.C.’s performance has been defense. Tightening up the backline will go a long way toward improving performances. Notably, homegrown defender Jacob Greene made his first Major League Soccer start.
Watch the highlights from D.C. United vs. New England Revolution
MLS Regular Season – Game 5
D.C. United: 1 Benteke 45′
New England Revolution: 2 Bou 6”, Buck 88′
D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Ruan, Derrick Williams, Steven Birnbaum, Jacob Greene (Nigel Robertha 79′), Russell Canouse, Chris Durkin, Ted Ku-DiPietro (Taxi Fountas 68′), Jackson Hopkins (Yamil Asad 68′), Mateusz Klich, Christian Benteke
New England Revolution: Djordje Petrovic, Dave Romney, Henry Kessler, Matthew Polster, Brandon Bye, DeJuan Jones, Gustavo Bou (Giacomo Vrioni 8”), Jack Panayotou (Emmanuel Boateng 7”), Noel Buck, Bobby Wood (Jozy Altidore 6”), Esmir Bajraktarevic (Carles Gil 62′)
D.C. United: Williams 58′
New England Revolution: Bye 82′