D.C. United played to a scoreless draw against Chicago Fire at Soldier Field, bagging a point to take home to the District. While not the flashiest performance against Chicago, we’re beginning to see Wayne Rooney’s promised team take shape.

The first 45′ was full of drama on the pitch but certainly not full of chances for the Black-and-Red. Chicago, fresh off their first win of the season, made a confident start at home. Chris Mueller tried to capitalize on a ball from Brian Gutiérrez in the 8′ to land a shot from outside the box, but his attempt went high and wide to keep Chicago on the hunt for an opening goal.

Fabian Herbers tried to sneak a header through in the 23′ but missed the target giving Tyler Miller little to do. Carlos Terán would finally test Miller with a shot to the top left corner in the 25′; the veteran goalkeeper (and former Chicago Fire U23 player and communications intern) easily denied him.

Mateusz Klich found Christian Benteke in the center of the box, giving him a chance to find the back of Chicago’s net in the 26′, but Chris Brady made the save for the Fire. The Black-and-Red would only have one more on-target chance in the first 45′.

A dust-up on the pitch saw Taxi Fountas booked with yellow, yet it seemed that he should have earned a penalty kick. Wayne Rooney agreed, saying he was “disappointed in VAR because I thought that was a clear penalty…I don’t understand how firstly, it gives a foul against Taxi. And secondly, even more bluntly, I don’t understand how VAR don’t overturn it. It’s disappointing.”

Mueller would continue to try to cause trouble for the Black-and-Red, finding another treacherous chance in the 28′. Thankfully, his attempted header missed the frame. D.C. United homegrown Jacob Greene would take a chance in the 37′, trying to find purchase from a corner. Unfortunately for D.C., his shot would miss. Donovan Pines would close out the half with an on-target header, but Brady was ready for him.

Struggles to get Christian Benteke, Taxi Fountas, and Mateusz Klich on the ball contributed to the Black-and-Red’s first half woes. D.C.’s on-target shots were limited, coming down to Benteke and Donovan Pines – both denied by Brady – to keep the match scoreless at the half.

The Black-and-Red emerged after halftime with renewed energy and looked far more tenacious than they had in the first 45′.

Taxi Fountas in particular, was intent on creating chaos for the Fire. In the 59′ he linked up with Benteke to put a shot on frame from outside the box. Again in the 70′ he flung a rocket from about 28 yards out, hitting the post with a crash. Perhaps the first half booking had put a little extra spice on that kick. He tried again in the 71′, getting his left foot on a header from Pines, but missed.

While Mueller and Fountas continued to create offensive chances for their respective teams, Brady and Miller were equally matched in issuing denials. A tepid first 45′ had certainly given way to a tumultuous second half of play.

The final moments turned into a true test for Black-and-Red goalkeeper Tyler Miller who made what was arguably the save of the season so far. Supporters held their collective breath as veteran forward Kei Kamara attempted a header from the center of the box in the 90′ + 1′. Kamara had found the game-winner against Miami in much the same fashion. Tyler Miller soundly denied him to keep a point for the Black-and-Red and preserve a clean sheet.

D.C. United will be back in the District to take on Columbus Crew on April 8 at 7:30 pm ET.

Three Takeaways

  • TYLER MILLER. Miller came up big to keep a clean sheet and save a point on the road for D.C. United. His technically sound performance was key to the final result.
  • Focus is key. Capitalizing on small moments, turnovers, throw-ins, and the like will be essential to the Black-and-Red’s success as the season progresses.
  • Taxi is back. The return of Fountas to a full 90′ + of play gives D.C. supporters hope. Now, Fountas, Benteke, and Klich need to find a solid connection to supercharge the Black-and-Red’s attack.

Watch the highlights from Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United 

Box Score

MLS Regular Season – Game 6

Chicago Fire: 0

D.C. United: 0


Chicago Fire: (4-2-3-1) Chris Brady, Jonathan Dean, Carlos Terán, Rafael Czichos, Arnaud Souquet, Gastón Giménez (Mauricio Pineda 83′), Maren Haile-Selassie, Fabian Herbers, Brian Gutierrez, Chris Mueller, Chris Mueller, Kacper Przybylko (Kei Kamara 64′)

D.C. United: (4-4-2) Tyler Miller, Donovan Pines, Ruan, Steve Birnbaum, Jacob Greene, Victor Pálsson, Mateusz Klich, Yamil Asad (Ted Ku-DiPietro 66′), Chris Durkin (Kristian Fletcher 81′), Taxi Fountas (Hayden Sargis 90′ + 4′), Christian Benteke

Misconduct Summary

D.C. United: Fountas 28′, Klich 74′

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

BySarah Kallassy

Managing Editor

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Kudos to Donovan Pines for not making one of his trademark blunders. I was holding my breath when he made every pass! He was the highest-rated player in the match by WhoScored.

Talonesque #

It’s strange, because every other system he’s played, his touch, balance, and fine motor skills in the box have been badly exposed, but the high line and sweeper keeper who can pass for the CB’s… negates most of that?? I’m not sure if this remains true, but the clean sheet means we must give him another opportunity to start. I was pretty surprised that we didn’t concede with him, but especially partnering with Birnbaum, his mobility was most of the game, and that’s definitely his strength. That said, most of the game, Chicago’s CF was dreadful.

Brendan Cartwright

The mics were picking up Tyler Miller giving him a lot of (forceful) instruction. I think he’s kind of low on confidence, and you can certainly understand why that would be. I’m glad that he was able to contribute to the first clean sheet of the season, and hopefully it’ll help his psyche, if indeed it needed helping.

Riky Nary

They also limited his touches on purpose.

Everyone is talking about the pass map with Miller going to Benteke a lot, but that was done because Palsson didn’t make himself available to Birnbaum like Canouse does, they were missing both starting FBs. I’ll start complaining when they aren’t missing 3-5 starters.

So I’m assuming it was the game plan. Normally we see a lot more passing along the GK-CB triangle.

Talonesque #

Hopkins should absolutely start for Durkin at this point, but the team needs to develop some chemistry. This sounds like advice for tots just starting out, but could we create some passing triangles already? Our opening win was arguably earned by Jeahze, Fletcher, and TKD doing short interchanges on the left that frustrated the opposition, and got us those two late goals.

Overall, solid road result, against a developing Chicago side full of young talent. I can’t say the play provided much nutritional value, but it’s hard to look past a clean sheet. Miller repelled that header like an exorcist with a vampire, extremely impressive individual moment, as was Birnbaum’s stuff of Mueller’s inside cut

Last edited 8 months ago by Talonesque #
Brendan Cartwright

Yeah, Taxi should have earned a penalty. But either Mueller or Kamara probably should have had a goal, so a draw seems fair to me. You’d love to see a win, but a point on the road isn’t anything to sneeze at for this club.

Tyler Miller had a great game, with both the save on Kamara, and commanding his box. Jacob Greene is doing quite well for being a youngster in only his third game. He hasn’t really offered anything going forward yet, but with the emphasis on defense in this game, that’s fine. I was expecting a lot of good offensive contribution from Jeahze, and he hasn’t really shown that yet either.

Good for Pines to get some confidence, and hopefully get himself out of Rooney’s doghouse. I think he’s still probably fourth at best on the depth chart, but hopefully this means Rooney will be fine playing him over Palsson at center back.

I’m excited for O’Brien to debut in the next game, and for Pedro Santos to make his return. I hope Taxi has good recovery this week. He seemed to be hurt several times during the game, but always found a way to get through it.

Congrats to Hayden Sargis for making his MLS debut! Right now, there are three players that have made one appearance for United and logged only three minutes. That’s the least by any player to have seen the field. If Sargis never makes another appearance, his one minute played will shatter that record.

David Rusk

Two examples of technological advances:

Last night I was in a restaurant in Tigre (a suburb of Buenos Aires) with Delcia and my in-laws. Because the restaurant was very noisy and I really wouldn’t be able to engage in any meaningful conversation re my hearing issues, they all graciously allowed me to watch the DCU-Chicago match through Apple MLS on my IPhone. From drinks to crepes with dulce de leche, I watched the whole match. (Dinners are leisurely in Argentina.)

By contrast, in 2004 (three years before the smart phone debuted) I was again. In Buenos Aires during the last time DCU made the MLS Cup. I had to go to an Internet Cafe in downtown Bs. As. to follow the match as best I could through an on-line summary (basically fouls, cards, substitutions and GOALS). I celebrated our victory with enthusiasm anyway.

Second example: Delcia, our high school’s AFS foreign exchange student for 1957-58, and I began dating seriously that year. She had to return to Bs. As. for the next year while I went off to Cal-Berkeley. I wrote her a letter every day while she wrote me about every third day (which I thought was pretty good for a woman).

Then in late fall I didn’t receive a letter v from her for three weeks. I panicked. Had Delcia fallen for someone else?

In desperation, I placed a long distance call for her from Berkeley to Buenos Aires. It turned out all was well between us; there was simply a postal strike in Argentina. No incoming nor outgoing mail.

We talked long distance for ten minutes and the charge was $44 — about $250 in today’s dollars.

By contrast, 55 years later, our 15 year old granddaughter Dylan repeated the family history but in reverse. Dylan went as an AFS foreign exchange student for a year to Formosa, Argentina (about the most godforsaken corner of the country there is). But Dylan and grandmother Delcia would Skype together frequently for an hour or more … FOR FREE.

I share these two anecdotes as one of the most senior members of the Commentariat to remind younger members that, for our current ills, there has been a lot of progress that has made a lot of lives easier.

[…] of D.C. United’s scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire by us and WaPo. Men in Red with the other […]


I am glad for the clean sheet and the fight down to the end of the game. I hope Pines gets more minutes as his liability on distribution has been minimized by him being able to pass back to the keeper. He is an excellent pure defender as always, just don’t ask him to distribute the ball.

I thought that Paulson was not good. He did not move to create windows between him and whoever had the ball. When DC United had the ball, they usually only had one choice when the defensive center mid is supposed to be the one who provides a second choice out of pressure. Klich also needs a square option so the other team can’t just clog up the forward channels on him as well as double team him.

The Fire are a much improved team. I hope they can pull it together enough to get to the playoffs, hopefully at the expense of NYC who are just not good without that crazy home field (they listlessly lost at Houston last week, another vastly improved team). The Fire haven’t put it together yet but having Kamara up there as a super sub will make them more dangerous. They are much more cohesive on defense than last year too.

Midfield needs some work and Benteke and Fountas will get to know each other. It’s clear they mutually recognize each other’s quality and are looking for each other. I hope Fountas is not injured.

At the end of the day, it’s a road point and those are hard to come by in MLS.

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