D.C. United hit the road and is ready to go for three more points after a convincing win over LA Galaxy at home last week. Next up? Toronto FC at BMO Field.

Winless since April, last-place Toronto has been struggling to get back into form while the Black-and-Red continues to climb the Eastern Conference table.

In addition to the lack of points, the Reds seem to have some (more) drama brewing in the locker room. Designated player Federico Bernardeschi is benched for tonight’s match, a decision coach Bob Bradley made in the wake of Bernardeschi’s frustrated remarks to the media after a loss to Austin FC. Bradley denies the DP’s absence is disciplinary.

As for Wayne Rooney? He and the Black-and-Red are focused on getting the job done. He said, “The main focus on the game on Saturday is us, if I’m being honest. Because Toronto…are not going through a great moment. I think it’s clear that there’s been a bit of a bit of words between players and maybe staff… So the main focus is on ourselves and making sure we do our job right. And we go in there with the right mindset to try and win the game.”

Things continue to look up for D.C. United with key players returning from injury. Taxi Fountas, Steve Birnbaum, Andy Najar, and Pedro Santos will all be available for selection against Toronto.

Let us know in the comments if you’re making any predictions for tonight! And here’s a little something to get you pumped up for tonight’s match from D.C.’s awesome creative team:

Key Players: Christian Benteke and Lewis O’Brien

Benteke continues to be D.C. United’s danger man. At this point, it’s an anomaly for him not to cause the opposition a headache. As for O’Brien, he’s a selfless and creative player who has the ability to make opportunities materialize out of thin air.

Watch Out For: Lorenzo Insigne

Despite a poor season record so far, Toronto FC has incredible talent on the roster. DP Lorenzo Insigne is one of many that might cause the Black-and-Red some pain at BMO Field.

Challenges: Wayne Rooney will need to consider another three match week in his lineup decision. The Black-and-Red play at home on Wednesday, May 31, against Montréal before heading back out on the road to face Inter Miami on Saturday, June 3.

Previously: D.C. and Toronto last met in the season opener at Audi Field on February 25. The Black-and-Red emerged victorious, with Ted Ku-DiPietro scoring the game-winner at the death in the 90′ + 8′.

Toronto FC Availability:

Out: Michael Bradley (lower body), Alonso Coello (lower body), Adama Diomande (lower body), Shane O’Neill (lower body), Jonathan Osorio (lower body), Sigurd Rosted (upper body), Victor Vázquez (lower body)

Questionable: Deandre Kerr (concussion protocol)

D.C. United Availability:

Out: Martin Rodriguez (knee), Nigel Robertha (ankle), Mohanad Jeahze (thigh), Ruan (thigh)

Location: BMO Field, Toronto

Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET

Referee: Lukasz Szpala

Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

BySarah Kallassy

Managing Editor

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David Rusk

Thanks, Sarah. It’s been a great week for timely District Press coverage of our DMV clubs.

Dean Dykema

A recommendation for DCU fans in Maryland for pub viewing: Tampico Grill, 42 Washington Blvd., Laurel, MD shows all DCU matches. Good times!

Brendan Cartwright

Good to know! This is less than a mile from my house!

David Rusk

Given the havoc that Toronto’s two Italian prima donna DP’s are creating , I’m triply thankful for three DPs that DC United has. By all evidence, they are real locker room assets as well as leaders on the field.


Almost all evidence. Although it was never proven, it seems more likely than not that Taxi racially abused a black player.

Talonesque #

Seeing Taxi interacting with people in the dressing room in videos seems to counter that possibility. It will continue to be a shadow over him, but it seems more likely than not that a Greek player was misheard in a heated moment with another player, and Fountas is showing respect and genuine camaraderie with many diverse players. If he shows anything similar to the allegations again, he’s gone, and rightly. I honestly don’t think Benteke or the others would stand for that if it was a firm reality.

David Rusk

I agree with this assessment. There seems to be no Taxi problem within the DC United squad.


I didn’t say he was a problem.
I also don’t agree that it’s more likely than not that he was misheard. There is lots of ignorance from foreign players. It is too bad we can never know for sure one way or the other.

Bryan McEachern

Why is it too bad? Can’t it be accepted that there is zero evidence to prove this at all? Why impugn a guy who flat out denied it? My stance has always been simple: the dude from Miami heard something that he perceived as a slur, he reported it. It was denied. That is the end of it.

What the important take away is: WE ALL WANT THIS S***HIT TO GET OUT OF SOCCER AND LIFE IN GENERAL. This was highlighted at every level in this case. Due diligence, solid exposure of the issue, inconclusive case. Done. But message served.

Bryan McEachern

Zero. This is a dead issue. If he was a snark-ass racist, it would simply re-emerge.


Nope. None of 3match officials within earshot heard any racial abuse, none of the 2 black DCU players nearby heard any abuse, a Miami player who was closer heard nothing, audio and video were there and didn’t catch Taxi saying the “N” word.

Matt Glad

Very lazy first 15 minutes. Not surprised to see that goal. Looked like they expected Toronto to lie down and accept defeat. Awful start after such a good run of form recently.

Matt Glad


Matt Glad

This league is so inconsistent with that exact call.

Ryan Hunt

Not a big fan of the triple substitution right before halftime. It feels very much like calling the players out in public, which is not something you really ever want to do as a manager. Pull them off at halftime or give them a chance to respond to your feedback during halftime.

It also leaves the team without any wingbacks on the bench and is putting a lot of pressure on three recently injured players when we have two more games in the next seven days.

Talonesque #

Insigne starts the play with a classy cross field ball, finishes it off with a good assist after keeping the width. Credit I guess to Dajome for at least trying to close that space, nowhere near in time to prevent it

Matt Glad

Despicable performance. Every single player and the coaching staff should be ashamed. Toronto came to play DC was hoping they’d get an easy win they didn’t deserve. DC has been great prior to this game, but they haven’t been good enough to take games off. Rather than keeping pace or jumping positions they’ll probably fall down in the standings now. Absolutely shameful.

Matt Glad

Toronto clearly had a game plan of no balls into Benteke and no build-up through central midfield and DC couldn’t cope. If DC did their homework they wouldn’t known that if you shut down the wings (yes, easier said than done with Insigne and Laryea) their midfield isn’t good enough to carry them. The adjustments? Just put more attacking players on the field and the problem of Toronto’s wings got worse. Mind-boggling coaching decisions.

Talonesque #

I didn’t see the first half, so I’m missing a lot of context. I take your earlier word that it was a lazy opening that cost us. The game was a bit of a mess in the second half, but this had more the feeling of an MLS parity result than anything. This sort of thing happens, if this lights Toronto’s playoff run beacon, and is the sign we’re headed for a long slump, then yes, it’s bad. I’d just point out it’s hard to tell in MLS sometimes between the result of a desperate bad team clocking a better one and a real narrative. I’m going to close the book on this one, and hope the players that got minutes can build on it, and that Canouse is alright after that somersault on his neck.

Know it’s a bit of a role reversal, I’ve seen enough MLS games to know this is not definitive as much as something that happened. On to the next one.

Talonesque #

Just for context, family stayed a bit longer than expected, so I missed even the first half highlights. I will say, for a team down a goal, we did not show a good shape in rest defense in possession, and that’s a concern. Toronto really should have capitalized with better passing, instead it was close. Hopefully we fix the bad start and the shape going forward.

Matt Glad

Maybe I am overreacting, but I just feel like the team was building towards something and it was all undone in one match. I guess we’ll see if that’s the case on Wednesday. Hope you enjoyed the time with the family!

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