Happy Thursday, everyone. There was a lot of MLS action as well as some other soccer action and news, so let’s start with the Black-and-Red up in Philly:

D.C. United went up to play the Philadelphia Union, and they leave Chester with a scoreless draw and a point. DCU played well in my opinion, and it was a deserved result at what has been a super difficult place for us to play. Check out the highlights!

On the other side, Loudoun United fell to New Mexico United at home, 3-1. Here are the highlights from that match.

Manchester City thrash Real Madrid to book Champions League final spot (ESPN)

Ugh, I hated this match yesterday, but credit to Manchester City. They came to play and will move onto the Champions League Final on June 10th against Inter Milan.

USA Soccercast, Episode 107: Folarin Balogun commits to the USA, USL Super League takes flight (SSFC)

Need a quick podcast to keep you entertained today? Check out my USA Soccercast!

Leonardo Bonucci: Italy & Juventus captain says he will retire at the end of next season (BBC)

Leonardo Bonucci is a legend, and he will have his final season next year. The Italian centerback has played 19 seasons for 8 clubs and has 120 caps for the national team.

The 2026 World Cup brand launch was last night in LA, and the stream for this was super painful to watch. However, we have a new brand logo for the tournament:


Ivan Toney banned: Brentford striker suspended for eight months over betting (BBC)

Ivan Toney has been suspended for 8 months for betting violations, and has also been fined. It’s a harsh penalty considering that clubs do a ton with betting companies.

Liverpool confirm Firmino, Keita, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave this summer (ESPN)

The end of an era at Liverpool, as 4 players who have helped the club get to the level they are right now will leave during the summer transfer window.

FIFA, European clubs loosen player release dates for Women’s World Cup (ESPN)

Finally, some good news for players outside of NWSL for being released for the Women’s World Cup. Players whose domestic seasons have been completed can be released from June 23-29 to join their national teams. That gives them 4 weeks instead of the window opening just 10 days before the opening match.

That’s it for today, enjoy the beautiful weather!

ByDonald Wine II

Donald Wine has been a soccer fan since he first kicked a ball as a kid. He moved to DC in 2007 and quickly joined the soccer scene, helping to establish the DC chapter of the American Outlaws and serving as one of the capos and drummers for over a decade. He is currently the manager of Stars & Stripes FC, but this community is where he got his start, and he continues to contribute to anything DC soccer related for this site because he enjoys it so much.

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Agreed, United played well. I think they missed a starter at right wing back, but Najar is almost always injured now and unfortunately Ruan was unavailable. Durkin did his best but was unable to impact the match.

Will Nelson

No Durkin did impact the match, he reduced Wagner’s ability to impact offensive play for Philly..


That’s fair, he was part of the middle that strangled Philly in a way we haven’t seen. I still believe Najar and Ruan can do that task and so much more beyond that.

Will Nelson

I agree Najar and Ruan would’ve been better in terms of getting service in. I don’t know if Najar would’ve been as effective at helping locking down Wagner. He’s not as bad as when he got that red card in the 2012 playoffs, but he still makes rash decisions on challenges at times. Najar had been sitting on a yellow, but then saw a straight red that wasn’t a second yellow in the 1st leg against NYRB.


DC United played well as they controlled the midfield for long stretches. They also created chances and our keeper didn’t have to stand on his head to keep it level.

I absolutely liked the patience on the ball. I liked how they consistently chose to recycle the ball rather than force through balls through lanes that the Union had covered. I liked how they figured out how to deal with the Union’s backside overloads after about 15 minutes. If they can get the shot off quicker in the box, they’ll be able to win a playoff game.

Mostly, I like how Rooney’s statement that he wanted to make them “hard to play against” is coming true. They don’t give up anything easy. It takes wacky corners and handballs to score against them. It’s going in the right direction. Just need better transition from the middle third to the final third.

I am also concerned about how to replace O’Brian when his loan expires. He has played very well and has really brought out the best in Klich.


I absolutely, totally, completely agree with your point about “difficult to play against.” Some teams are difficult to play against because they always foul, always kick the ball away (to delay restarts), constant trash talk to try and provoke a response or get you off your game. DCU is being difficult to play against by being organized, forcing attackers to hold up (so defenders can then get back to provide support), covering for each other and being smart, providing high and mid pressure at the right times (rather than constantly).

Ryan Hunt

It’s a legitimate worry to see what happens when O’Brien leaves. He’s been really solid with ball progression from the defense to the offense. Durkin probably slots into his spot but he’s missing the close ball control and second gear that O’Brien has. The best option is probably Asad right now because he can do the quick connections almost as fast and he has decent ball security. The drop off there will be fitness and top speed but maybe some more starts will bring back the Asad of yesteryear.

Up top I thought KDP was excellent, but I still think his lack of top end speed will limit his ceiling to MLS-squad depth. There were a couple chances he had to breakaway and he just couldn’t. Maybe it was the niggling injury, but I’ve never seen him as exceptionally pacey.


Re: KDP speed, I suggest it’s more mental. He isn’t old enough to instinctively know where the defender thinks he will go and do something different at speed. Benteke is the best at that. I hope he learns some of that from a quality player like Benteke as he has a lot of other really good tools.


KDP’s potential seems to be more about his movement than his athleticism. He’s pretty aggressive in taking on the opponent’s backline whether in crashing the box or taking a shot. Not that he’s the same type of forward, but Wondo’s an all-time great who didn’t get there by outrunning his markers- he just had the mental edge.

Bryan McEachern

KDP’s strength and calling card is his aggression. As the tools off trade round out, I still think that will be his bedrock.


Okay, cut me some slack here–I know it’s early in his career. But the person who KDP reminds me of is….Wondolowski. Not tall. Not strong. Not a good target man. Not fast. The sort of guy who you’d go “meh–he’s a ‘depth’ player I think.” Except both had very quick feet, were pretty good in tight space, make good runs inside the box, and are very capable of “passing the ball in to the goal” rather than hitting a Durkin-like laser.

Right now, KDP has some instances where he takes one touch too many. Or he should aim his “pass” on goal just a little more to a corner. But he’s demonstrated that in tight space, he’ll find an opening. And then he’ll usually finish the chance. If we ended up with “Wondo-lite” I’d be a very happy camper.

Last edited 6 months ago by JoeW
Brendan Cartwright

Teddy KDP has a bit of Lucho in him too, in that he’s good on the dribble, but a little too eager to try and take on too many people with the dribble. If he can learn to pass before he dribbles into a blind alley, that’ll make him really dangerous.


Teddy KDP is way to eager to take on a bunch of people on the dribble. He might beat one and hold off another, but he invariably gets bottled up. The other thing I think he needs to learn is just to really put some oomph into his passes and shots.I find he’s too worried about placement but ignores that defenders and goalies move and react. To get the ball through it often takes more pace than he puts on the ball.


They’re almost certain to sign an O’Brien replacement in the summer, they won’t just roll with what’s left.

Bryan McEachern

Or, sign O’Brien (hope, it’s the hope that kills you…..)

David Rusk

A most impressive 0-0 draw last night. Rooney has indeed made DCU “hard to play against”. And Benteke and KDP play off each other well. I feel better about Taxi’s getting a long rest to let his hamstring recover.

BTW, I saw the last time DCU won in Chester in 2014. It was my first road trip with Screaming Eagles and the only result we ever got in my dozen SE road trips.


Exactly. Nothing against Taxi. But Teddy KDP and Benteke make up a really good pairing up top.

Brendan Cartwright

Fun stat!

Tyler Miller has now played 13 games for United, and given up 16 goals. Rafael Romo played 14 games for United last year.

If Miller were to give up another 16 goals in his next match, he STILL wouldn’t have allowed as many goals as Romo did (34) in 14 matches.

Another pat on the back for the front office for their work on the goalkeeper position this year.

Brendan Cartwright

I was still pretty salty after the draw against Nashville and punting the Open Cup, so let me just say that the draw against Philadelphia was really excellent. If anything, United were a bit hard done by to not win. They did a good job of moving the ball, but just didn’t have the true quality in the final third. There were a couple of very good chances, but they either got a weak shot off, were stopped by Andre Blake, or just missed. There’s no shame in not scoring against Blake and the Philly defense, and plenty of other teams have had that problem too. Plus, with so many injuries on United’s side, it was the best they could offer.

I said yesterday I wanted to see them play with heart, and play with a plan. If they did that, I didn’t mind if they lost. Well, they showed heart in spades, and had a good plan, and they even earned a point. That’s a great result, and the fact that they carried the play against Philadelphia in Chester is even better. It almost seemed like Tyler Miller was baiting the Union to chip him from 40 yards, so whenever they had an attacking moment, they’d waste it on a low percentage shot. But the team played really well. I thought for certain that Samake would be let go last year, and that they’d try to find a trading partner for Pines, but it turns out I’m really glad both of those guys are still here.

Well done, DC!

David Rusk

Amen to all that


I think that the current coaching staff sort of sat down and made a plan about how to address each guy’s weaknesses both tactically and through individual improvement. With Pines, they first coached him to use Miller if he isn’t sure about distribution with the longer term goal for him to slow down mentally and not be in such a rush to force a ball out.

Brendan Cartwright

You may well be right. There’s certainly been loads of individual improvement from players that returned from last year (especially Canouse, Pines, and Palsson).


I’m JoeW and I agree with this message (sorry, I’ve listened to too many political ads).

Will Nelson

Its official Cali is getting a 4th team this time in San Diego. And it doesn’t involve Landon Donovan’s San Diego Loyal. MLS San Diego will begin play in 2025 season. They’ll play at Snap Dragon Stadium at San Diego State University. It currently hosts the SDSU Aztecs, San Diego Legion (of MLR), and San Diego Wave of NWSL. https://www.mlssoccer.com/news/major-league-soccer-awards-expansion-team-to-san-diego-x9222

Brendan Cartwright

I was really hoping that Sacramento would get the team, but that ship sailed awhile ago, sadly. I also would have preferred a different location, but hard to say no to $500 million. If it had gone to Las Vegas, say, you could have made a complete line of states with an MLS team in from coast to coast (thanks Sporting KC for playing in Kansas!). Ah well. There’s still a good chance of it happening at some point.

Brendan Cartwright

And I’ve never been to San Diego, so a perfect excuse for an away game!


I’m going to San Diego this coming weekend (on business). Been there many times previously. A superb place to go (other than the cost and the difficulty of getting direct flights at decent times). I look forward to using a DCU away match as another excuse to come to SD. Just avoid June–that’s the time of “June Gloom” and the mediocre weather in San Diego.

David Rusk

My first visit to San Diego was during my mayoralty in 1978 and had a significant effect on Albuquerque. I was very impressed by how San Diego had developed regarding the Pacific Ocean and the various bays that, despite being a region of 2+ million persons, it still maintained a sense of openness and connection to its natural environment (unlike Los Ángeles, for example).

On arriving back in the Albuquerque International Airport, I looked westward at the undeveloped West Mesa and its five volcanic cones (which we hoped are extinct) that formed the western horizon.

I said to myself that “it may be bone dry but that is our Pacific Ocean. If we ever let development fill up that vista, we will have lost our sense of openness — the vision that Albuquerque is a civilized island in the midst of a sea of nature “.

I initiated actions that purchased 4,000 acres of permanent open space around the volcanoes to the west and, to the east, the 8,000 acres of the Sandia Mountains from the base of the foothills to the 10,500 ft crest.

As a result, Albuquerque is (to my knowledge) the only city where, when you step across the city limits, you literally step into a federally protected National Wilderness.

With the support of the City Council and city voters, it is my greatest gift to Albuquerque.

Bryan McEachern

Dude, all you need tasty waves and a cool buzz…..and you’ll be fine….

Talonesque #

It’s kinda been said, but I think we’re all going to wince badly when O’Brien leaves, probably in just a few weeks. He’s provided defensive stability AND ball progression in a way that is not going to be replaced. He’s frankly outshone Klich, in my view, and by a pretty significant margin.

The goodbye is coming, and it’s a shame we can’t keep him.


Hopefully the guys in line to take his starting spot have been studying him. Probably no one can really capture everything (technique won’t be fixed overnight for some of our guys with concrete boots), but surely someone can pick up on how he links up with others/chooses to go forward.

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