D.C. United overcame LA Galaxy 3-0 at Audi Field in front of a sold-out home crowd of 19,205 in a return to winning ways.
Capitalizing on LA’s defensive impatience, the Black-and-Red put in a convincing performance. LA still has never won a match at Audi Field, having last lost 2-1 to D.C. United in August of 2019 when Quincy Amarikwa famously taunted legend Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Despite a long injury list and tired legs, the Black-and-Red were dominant throughout the first half, maintaining their grit through the pouring rain at Audi Field. LA Galaxy was on the back foot before the match even started, coming off of cross-country travel and a midweek matchup. It was evident LA was tired. the Black-and-Red made quick work of the holes in their defense to set up chance after chance in the first 45′.
Mateusz Klich struck in the 27′ with a shot from outside the box toward the top corner. Unfortunately, Jonathan Bond saved the shot to deny him. On D.C’s side of the pitch, Donovan Pines, in particular, held it down to provide critical support to Tyler Miller throughout the first half. Pines has truly come into his own this 2023 season, becoming indispensable to D.C.’s backline.
While LA did its share of testing Tyler Miller, its efforts didn’t come to fruition. Miller easily saved shots by Gastón Brugman in the 14′ and Riqui Puig in the 21′.
Referee Fotis Bazakos had his hands full as D.C. and LA chased the opening goal, going toe to toe in an increasingly chippy half. Although the effort was there, the match remained scoreless. The Black-and-Red and Galaxy headed to the locker rooms, ready to take on the next 45′.
Christian Benteke appeared to have opened the scoring in the 67′ when he fired a shot past Bond at close range, but Bazakos declared him offside. Black-and-Red supporters didn’t have long to worry, though. Benteke made good on his promised goal moments later, slipping a ball past Bond into the lower right-hand corner of the net.
Wayne Rooney said, “It was a pretty tight game, so the first goal is always going to be vital, and thankfully we got it.”
Cristian Dájome, assisted by Benteke, flung in a left-footed shot to double D.C. United’s lead in the 73′. A jubilant Audi Field erupted in cheers, and supporters took to their feet. This is the newcomer from Vancouver’s first goal in Black-and-Red.
Raheem Edwards tried to find the back of the net for LA in the 76′ but was handily shut down by a sharp Tyler Miller.
Mateusz Klich found the net himself in the 80′, snagging a rebound and firing a shot into the lower right-hand corner of the net to the roars of the home crowd. He took a moment to pay homage to Rooney, doing the coach’s signature goal celebration. Rooney was amused, saying, “He’s keeping it alive.”
Chicharito and Daniel Aguirre would seek further opportunities for LA in the 85′ and 90′ + 3′ respectively, but Tyler Miller held on to preserve a clean sheet for D.C. United.
Things are only looking up for the Black-and-Red with the impending return of key players and an incredible team effort. Rooney said, “We’ve got Steve, Taxi, Andy, and Pedro potentially all back fit. But what the lads have been playing, what they’ve done is to make it very difficult for me to take anyone off the team, so that’s great. Great competition for places. But no, I was delighted. It might be the first time in my career I’ve managed to play the same team back to back.”
D.C. United heads out on a road trip and will first face Toronto FC at BMO Stadium on May 27 at 7:30 pm ET.
- Lewis O’Brien is a creative mastermind. A true standout for his performance against the Galaxy, Lewis O’Brien gave a masterclass in unselfish, creative play., putting his body on the line to set up his teammates for scoring opportunities throughout the match. O’Brien said, “You can see the way that we’re playing is just miles better. It was just a matter of time until we did get the three points, and we did get the goals.”
- Where it ended for LA. It was all over for the LA Galaxy once Benteke finally struck. The Black-and-Red swiftly destroyed any chance LA had at a comeback with subsequent goals by Dájome and Klich.
- You’ve got to stay in the game. For Wayne Rooney, winning over the Galaxy was a matter of organization and steadfastness. He said, “We’ve been watching obviously the last week or so now. I just felt if we were organized and, as I said, stayed in the game, we’d have a really good chance of winning it because they are quite open defensively in terms of their organization and the shape. They tend to have some players working and some players not working. You can really take advantage of that. It was important for us tonight to just stay organized and with them openings to come to take advantage of them.”
MLS Regular Season – Game 14
D.C. United: 3
LA Galaxy: 0
D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Gaoussou Samake (Jacob Greene 82′), Donovan Pines, Derrick Williams, Victor Pálsson, Chris Durkin, Lewis O’Brien, Russell Canouse (Brendan Hines-Ike 89′), Mateusz Klich (Yamil Asad 89′), Ted Ku-DiPietro (Cristian Dájome 68′), Christian Benteke (Kristian Fletcher 89′)
LA Galaxy: Jonathan Bond, Calegari, Martín Cáceres, Jalen Neal (Eriq Zavaleta 84′), Julián Aude (Uri Rosell 84′), Riqui Puig, Gastón Brugman (Daniel Aguirre 84′), Mark Delgado, Tyler Boyd (Raheem Edwards 63′), Memo Rodríguez (Dejan Joveljic 75′), Chicharito
D.C. United: Pines 65′, Cristian Dájome 90′
LA Galaxy: Rodríguez 45′ + 1′, Delgado 87′
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United.