D.C. United took all three points in a must-watch, must-win match against CF Montréal at Stade Saputo. Newcomer Lewis O’Brien notched the game-winner in his second MLS appearance.

Facing off against former head coach Hernán Losada, D.C. United had to maintain focus and, as Donovan Pines told the media pre-match, “try to play the game within ourselves.”

A tepid first half saw D.C. and Montréal battle for the upper hand, using more toughness than tactical prowess. Referee Joe Dickerson issued four yellow cards before the halftime whistle blew owing to the gritty play. D.C. United’s Mohanad Jeahze went off in the 13′ injured, making way for Pedro Santos to join the fray.

Both Montréal and D.C. initially struggled to find shots on target. A skied shot from Bryce Duke in the 6′ was the closest Montréal came to finding the back of the net, giving Tyler Miller an easy day. D.C. United, however, seemed to find their stride and settle into the game, creating hope late in the first half. Santos was able to levy a cross into the box, although the ball was snatched up by Jonathan Sirois.

It seemed that the Black-and-Red would find their opportunity in stoppage time as Ruan found Klich with a cross. Klich managed to launch the shot over the crossbar rather than into the back of Montréal’s net, leaving the half scoreless at the whistle.

Just moments after the second half began, Christian Benteke won the ball in the midst of Montréal’s defense and lobbed it to a waiting Taxi Fountas. Fountas found an open Mateusz Kilch, who took a shot that ricocheted off the near post and right to Lewis O’Brien. Recognizing the opportunity, O’Brien capitalized on the rebound to find his way past Sirois to put D.C. on the scoreboard and open his MLS account.

Rooney visited the thought behind O’Brien’s goal and described how D.C. United has been working to maximize opportunities. “I feel with Benteke, with the kickoff, if we can go long and get it into the opposition’s penalty area and then get bodies around it for certain balls, you can get a shot at goal. Yeah, it’s always nice when something you work on pays off,” he said.

Losada tried to open up the field for Montréal but struggled against D.C. United, saying, “We created a few opportunities at the end. So there’s nothing much else to do but put balls in the box. You try to create opportunities from set pieces. One of the strongest points from this team, from the opponent, are the aerial duels and how powerful they are in the air…We tried absolutely everything today.”

While not the Black-and-Red’s most elegant match, they got the job done and walked away from Stade Saputo with a win – their first since the February 25 home opener.

D.C. United remains on the road and will head south to take on Orlando City SC, on April 22 at 7:30 pm ET.

Three Takeaways

  • Welcome to the Black-and-Red, Lewis O’Brien. The newcomer from Nottingham Forest stepped up to snag all three points for the Black-and-Red on the road.
  • Getting the job done isn’t always pretty. D.C.’s play against Montréal was anything but beautiful, but in the end, the Black-and-Red got the job done to secure the win on the road.
  • Possession doesn’t matter… unless you do something with it. Montréal had 59.6% of possession during the match but wasn’t able to find the right chances to capitalize on.

Watch the highlights from CF Montréal vs. D.C. United 

Box Score

MLS Regular Season – Game 8

CF Montréal: 0

D.C. United: 1 O’Brien 46′


CF Montréal: Jonathan Sirois, Rudy Camacho, Zachary Brault-Guillard (Sunusi Ibrahim 69′), Joel Waterman, Aaron Herrera, Victor Wanyama, Ilias Iliadis (Ariel Lassiter 46′), Ahmed Hamdi (Rida Zouhir 69′), Bryce Duke, Mathieu Choiniere (Sean Rea 88′), Chinonso Offor

D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Ruan (Andy Najar 87′), Mohanad Jeahze (Pedro Santos 13′), Steven Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Russell Canouse (Chris Durkin 79′), Lewis O’Brien, Mateusz Klich (Ted Ku-DiPietro 79′), Victor Pálsson, Taxiarchis Fountas, Christian Benteke

Misconduct Summary

CF Montréal: Hamdi 25′, Iliadis 40′, Waterman 45′ +4′,

D.C. United: Pálsson 5′, O’Brien 60′

BySarah Kallassy

Managing Editor

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A win is better than a loss. Montreal is a not very good USL Championship side at the moment. If DCU gives a similar performance next week in Orlando, it will not end well. 8 games in and Rooney has reverted to Bennyball in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Going to be another long and ultimately unsatisfying season. Sure hope that “unidentified young Uruguayan player” is the second coming of El Diablo, Jaime or Gomito. Doubt it however.

Brendan Cartwright

We Beat Canadian Teams!

Talonesque #

So, let me just say, I’m generally ok with the second half. We eventually got to a shape that made sense and started to show a bit of chemistry. Santos is clearly a LOT better at staying back and tenaciously fucking with an attacker, and Ruan is fine shuttling. O’Brien was obviously effective, but the main effect of that was Canouse looking over, seeing a real partner who would work with him, and locking in- passing was not a problem for him once that happened. Klich was better once he took up a more advanced position on the left, Taxi and Benteke started to not be parallel ridiculousness. That’s the beginning of a shape, it will suck to lose O’Brien soon.

We’re, really, really lucky to get this team to have a result and figure this out, Montreal we’re flaccid and, as an overall unit, not up for it.

Talonesque #

I’ll also say, it may be that Losada’s departure was a good thing, based on what we saw. I said more on the thread, but Yeesh, that was a pathetic team ethic.


It was a good thing, regardless of what we saw last night. He ran Arriola away just like he ran Kamara away from Montreal. Kamara is now helping Chicago get 3 points just like Arriola is with Dallas.

In fairness to Losada, he inherited a very challenging hand of cards at Montreal. Most of last year’s team was already out the door regardless of who was coach. He had no time to sign new talent. On the other hand, he ran their last key attacking piece off with his rigidity and has done nothing to try to get the most out of what he does have.


Do we think Losada makes it through the year in Montreal? My bet is no at this point but don’t know enough about Montreal to know if they will be patient

David Rusk

From Buenos Aires: Benteke is shaping as the best post up #9 DCU has ever had whether service is in the air or on the ground. I thought that his header off to Taxi (then to Taxi, Klich off the post, O’Brien and GOAL) was just brilliant. He took out three defenders on that play.


Even last year, it was easy to see that he’s not just a guy looking to tap it in. He likes keeping his teammates involved, ans hopefully shows up on the box score whether he’s the last one to touch it or laying it off for someone else.


Totally agree. And it’s not just the “eye test” on this–statistically he’s dominant in the air on the offensive end. He’s a very good target man. He’s very unselfish (rare for a striker in my experience).

Matt Glad

His distribution is also very underrated in my opinion. He picked out the RWB from the left side line with a side volley that I’ve only seen done successfully a handful of times in my life. It was a delicious find.


He has so much quality.

I was crying tears of joy after his goal against New England as he set it up then beat his defender to the spot for the service. Best individual tactical goal I’ve seen since Rooney set up the defensive positioning pass by pass to cause a turnover in a place that set up an easy through ball and goal against RSL in 2019.

I can’t wait until he and Fountas and Klich gel. It’ll be a treat.


This was a good win. No need to get too high off it but it’s still a road win. Montreal is low on talent and they have a coach who is not known for adjusting his tactics to his team. That being said, they are still a major league team and getting three points at their place should not be taken for granted.

pros – great teamwork between the mids and center backs to prevent room between their lines. Coach Losada’s system is built to cause turnovers at times that open up space between the mids and backs.

Fountas is starting to recover some of his excellent creativity on the ball

Coach Rooney timed his subs very well. He added fresh legs to transition from the middle third to the final third just when Montreal was starting to get forward a little bit.

DC United was very mentally tough, mature, and pragmatic as they defended the lead. They limited risky through balls that could lead to counters and were proficient at cycling the ball around to take the air out of the game.

Pines and Birnbaum worked very well together. Coach Rooney has figured out how to play to Pines’ strengths and hide his weaknesses. That is a huge difference between Rooney and Losada.

cons- the center mids and forwards do not know each other yet and it shows. They were not confident moving the ball through the middle third and it showed. Fountas and Benteke made runs that the mids did not expect and vice versa.

The transitions into the final third were a bit too predictable. Whoever has the ball need more than one option.

still need work finishing as a team.

The official had a good game. Stuck to his calls and no calls. His cards were spot on with the context of the plays. You’ll see him in the 2026 World Cup and will probably get two knockout games. He just gets it at such a young age.

Bryan McEachern

It is rare when a MLS ref doesn’t become the story. I agree, solid referee job. Not a lot off drama, not a lot of chaos.

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