Wednesday night in the District certainly didn’t go to plan for D.C. United as CF Montréal made a clinical comeback late in the match to secure a point with a 2-2 scoreline.

The Black-and-Red were hoping to flip the script on a lackluster performance in Toronto that had head coach Wayne Rooney wishing to swap out the whole squad before the halftime whistle.

For a while, it looked like D.C. had succeeded in moving past Saturday’s loss as they led CF Montréal for the majority of the match. Unfortunately, a late ambush by Hernán Losada’s men would catch the Black-and-Red flat-footed.

D.C. United’s first 45′ against CF Montréal wasn’t flashy by any means, but rather a solid performance fitting of a multiple-match week. The Black-and-Red were holding their own and getting it done against a Bleu-Blanc-Noir side that’s become exponentially more cohesive since the clubs’ last meeting in April.

Donovan Pines put D.C. United up before the half, capitalizing on a cross from Mateusz Klich. Pines rose up to win the ball in the air and send a header past Jonathan Sirois. So far, the match was on track for the Black-and-Red as they headed to the locker room in the lead.

Things only got better for D.C. United in the second half as they continued to deny Montréal’s dangerous attacks. Victor Pálsson flung a beautiful pass forward to Christian Benteke in the box, but Joel Waterman was there to stop him. Ted Ku-DiPietro captured the rebound to double the lead for the Black-and-Red, slipping another past Sirois toward the back post in the 59′.

Unfortunately, Ku-DiPietro’s goal was where D.C.’s luck ran out. The Bleu-Blanc-Noir had been playing the long game with D.C. United. Hernán Losada immediately brought in Zachary Brault-Guillard, Sunusi Ibrahim, Nathan-Dylan Saliba, and Gabriele Corbo for Aaron Herrera, Lassi Lappalainen, Bryce Duke, and Rudy Camacho, respectively. The switch would turn the tide in Montréal’s favor in short order.

Ariel Lassiter found Sunusi Ibrahim in the box in the 80′ with a cross. A misread by Pines allowed him to lob a header over Tyler Miller to put Montréal on the board.

The match did not improve for the Black-and-Red. Moments later, the Bleu-Blanc-Noir would equalize as Ibrahim floated a cross to Lassiter. Lassiter took aim from the top of the six to find the back of D.C.’s net in the 82′.

Wayne Rooney was far more pleased with his team than on Saturday, saying, “I thought we started the game well, and that had to start from the warm-up… And again, I thought we were always in control of the game…the first half was tight, but we were never worried, never concerned… I was pleased with the reaction from the previous game.”

The Black-and-Red now need to shake it off as they head south to face Inter Miami on Saturday, June 3, at 7:30 pm ET.

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

Box Score

MLS Regular Season – Game 16

D.C. United: 2 Pines 44′, Ku-DiPietro 59′

CF Montréal: 2 Ibrahim 80′, Lassiter 82′


D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Donovan Pines, Derrick Williams, Victor Pálsson, Andy Najar (Jacob Greene 73′), Chris Durkin, Lewis O’Brien, Mateusz Klich, Pedro Santos, Ted Ku-DiPietro (Taxi Fountas 80′), Christian Benteke

CF Montréal: Jonathan Sirois, Rudy Camacho (Gabriele Corbo 63′), Joel Waterman, Aaron Herrera (Zachary Brault-Guillard 60′), George Campbell, Victor Wanyama, Bryce Duke (Nathan-Dylan Saliba 61′), Lassi Lappalainen (Sunusi Ibrahim 61′), Mathieu Choiniere, Chinonso Offor (Jules-Anthony Vilsaint 77′), Ariel Lassiter

Misconduct Summary

D.C. United: O’Brien 84′

CF Montréal: Duke 51′

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

BySarah Kallassy

Managing Editor

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Stunned Duck

A classic demonstration of Clausewitz’s culminating point of victory. When KDP scored, we had clearly been the better team for most of the match and had things well in hand, and Montreal looked a bit unsteady (four subs will do that to you), and we thought we could get more; but then their fresh legs kicked in, they started winning the race to every 50-50 ball, we didn’t recognize our own overextension, they pinned us in our own end, Rooney didn’t respond adequately to Losada’s deployment of reserves (we needed more subs when Taxi came in, not getting fresh legs in the midfield was an obvious mistake at the time of the that sub), and a couple of errors later, all the good work of the first hour was in the toilet.

Pines made a key mistake, sure, but he has made such huge strides compared to where he was a year ago, and I think this is very much to the credit of the coaching staff. The entire defensive line is on the same page, has a good mentality, and they all trust each other. I like the style of play, I like the defensive organization, I appreciate the way we’re leveraging Miller’s considerable strengths and minimizing his significant weaknesses… this is rather more entertaining than the majority of seasons in the Ben Olsen era.

But, it still has the feel of squeezing blood from the orange. The team *has* to win on intelligence because we’re generally lacking pace, we *have* to convert our transition chances because the technique isn’t there to consistently crack an organized defense, we *can’t* make all the right substitutions because our bench is too limited in its capacities. And, therefore, any success is fragile and readily undone (thanks, Canada!).


The consensus among DC fans that Pines is a bust is just flat wrong. He is getting better every week, and we can see it. He has what, 2 goals now this year and is absolutely dominant in the air. He’s way quicker than any forward ever gives him credit for so his ability to close is a great strength of his. I feel like he keeps getting put out on an island by his CB pairing, left to die, and then blamed for losing 2 individual 1-1 battles a game. We really invite attackers to drive our CBs, and since we lack pace (as you rightly identify) the directive is to backpedal and invite the pressure rather than make them go around or backwards with a pass.


Such a very good analysis. The point about intelligence really shows on Wednesday night. With the game (supposedly) locked down, I referred to “once tontos” as what happened with DCU pressing numbers forward for a goal they didn’t need and Montreal, with fresher legs, jumping on two quick counters. This team needs to play at a high intelligence level because it doesn’t have the pieces to squeeze the life out of another team. The lack of good wingbacks, other than Najar, is criminal as it focuses all build up to Benteke and DCU’s opponents now plan for that knowing there is no real “10” nor wingback other than Najar that can unsettle a defense. Maybe in the summer window, DCU adds a real wingback — not someone like Dàjome who was a panic last minute addition — but a real left sided threat. Right now, Santos is past his sell by date – his “crosses” in the Montreal game were U-12 awful, Greene is too raw and who knows what Jeahze can bring if anything. DCU will hover around 8-9-10 all season, and, since DCU will finish its season the week before “Decision Day”, likely will be bounced from the playoff competition on that day. It’s now been 16 seasons since 2007, the last time DCU had a truly well balanced and dangerous squad. How many more years?


One final point, DCU had two of the best wingbacks in the league in Arriola and Gressel. One they pissed off and he demanded to be let go, the other they traded because a guy now on loan at Loudoun was “better.” The talent evaluation in this FO is below sub-optimal.

Talonesque #

I’m still hopeful about Hopkins development. It’s worth remembering Gressel had a very different path with more adversity for his talents, and that Hopkins is only just experiencing a bump in the road, and at a very early age. As it’s far too soon to know if he’ll come through this with more steel and conviction, or fall well short of his perceived upside, I don’t think it’s worth declaring whether it was a good move to lose Gressel for a player who was way younger and truly looked to be worth the playing time.

Ryan Hunt

Rooney has been doing a decent job, but there’s two main aspects he needs to improve upon.

One is talent identification. Ravel is obviously the main error here, but letting Gressel go was a mistake (he’s been playing great as a CM in Vancouver), Palsson isn’t a good fit for the system Rooney wants and so he’s had to change the system. Dajome was an absolute panic but and my feeling is that Rooney had other targets prioritized but they weren’t realistic signings for DC (maybe budget was too tight) and so Kasper had to pull an inter league trade.

The other thing he needs to work on is sways rotation/game management. The main changes he’s made this year have been forced by injuries and his subs are coming too late in games to impact them (they’re frequently reactionary). While there is some benefit to keeping the starting eleven together, I think Rooney should take a page from Sir Alex and do more progressive rotation.

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