D.C. United won over a depleted FC Cincinnati side 3-0 in front of a home crowd of 18,864. This victory marks D.C.’s fifth regular season win over Cincinnati.

For the Black-and-Red, tonight’s victory over the top team in the MLS Eastern Conference meant more. Head coach Wayne Rooney told the District Press, “I think obviously to beat Cincinnati is a good win for us, especially after the last two games, so confidence should be high after this game. Especially with the two games we have coming up.”

The Black-and-Red put FC Cincinnati to the test from the beginning, keeping things in the Orange and Blue’s half for the majority of the first 10′. The effort paid off as Mateusz Klich fired a cross to Pedro Santos in the center of the box. Santos scored his first goal of the season in the 10′, slotting one past Roman Celetano in the lower left-hand corner of the net.

Santos echoed Rooney, saying, “We know they (Cincinnati) have been playing well. They are the top of the league… I think we did very well in the first half and we scored three goals. I think in the second half, we managed the result very well and got two [three] points.”

While Cincinnati tried to counter, the Black-and-Red were ready, with Donovan Pines pulling off a heroic feat to clear a dangerous attempt and help Tyler Miller keep a clean sheet.

D.C. United wasted no time in bagging another goal, taking full advantage of a set-piece situation to double the lead in the 17′. Pines sent a header into the box for Cristian Dájome, who fired a shot quickly. Derrick Williams picked up the rebound to put it in the net for the Black-and-Red – in the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

While Lucho Acosta tried a shot from outside the box in the 26′ but missed his attempt going wide and to the left. Cincinnati would go on to try and pressure the Black-and-Red but wasn’t able to break through D.C.’s defense, even with a set piece opportunity.

Christian Benteke connected with Cristian Dájome in the box for a third goal for the Black-and-Red in the 43′. Dájome sent the ball past Celetano into the lower left of the net, the third time in the match that the Black-and-Red managed to catch him out there.

Shortly into the second half, Pat Noonan began making his substitutions, trying to turn the tide against D.C. United. Throughout the first half, it was easy to see a deflated Cincinnati struggle against the Black-and-Red.

Lucho Acosta, Álvaro Barreal, Nick Hagglund, and Ian Murphy had all missed repeated chances, unable to crack through the Black-and-Red’s back line or Tyler Miller. D.C. drew Cincinnati out wide and defused their attack, for the most part, with ease.

The situation only got worse for the Orange and Blue. Wayne Rooney brought in Taxi Fountas in the 71′ to bolster the Black-and-Red’s attack. As Fountas and D.C. began a strong run into Cincy’s half, Ian Murphy made a critical error that resulted in his second yellow of the match in the 79′. The accumulation saw him sent off and the Black-and-Red playing against ten men. With no goals on the board, it was practically game over for Cincinnati. In the remaining minutes of the match, the Orange and Blue were unable to find purchase against D.C. United.

At the final whistle, the Black-and-Red collected all three points and the bragging rights of beating first-place Cincinnati.

D.C. United will return to the road to take on Nashville SC, on July 1 at 8:30 pm ET.

Three Takeaways

  • Pedro Santos and Cristian Dájome commended for their performance. Wayne Rooney lauded Santos and Dájome for their performance in the match and practice. He told The District Press, “The best two players on the pitch for me were Dájome and Pedro. And they were both selections that I, early on in the week, wasn’t playing. Because of the way they trained this week, they earned the right to play, which is important for all the players, and then they play and they were the two best players on the pitch.”
  • A convincing clean sheet for Tyler Miller. Miller recorded his first clean sheet since May 20th’s match against LA Galaxy.
  • Frustration for Christian Benteke. There was apparent frustration for Benteke as he repeatedly dropped into the box and got in position to receive a pass. Unfortunately, his opportunity didn’t come.

Watch the highlights from D.C. United vs. FC Cincinnati

Box Score

MLS Regular Season – Game 21

D.C. United: 3 Santos 10′, Williams 17′, Dájome 43′


D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Derrick Williams, Brendan Hines-Ike (Kristian Fletcher 86′), Pedro Santos, Andy Najar (Ruan 64′), Donovan Pines, Chris Durkin, Lewis O’Brien, Mateusz Klich, Cristian Dájome (Taxi Fountas 71′), Christian Benteke

FC Cincinnati: Roman Celentano, Alvas Powell (Raymon Gaddis 58′), Nick Hagglund, Santiago Arias (Bret Hasley 71′), Alvaro Barreal (Joey Akpunonu 82′), Ian Murphy, Obinna Nwobodo, Marco Angulo, Luciano “Lucho” Acosta, Dominique Badji (Sergio Santos 71′), Quimi Ordonez (Malik Pinto 57′)

Misconduct Summary

D.C. United: Najar 64′

FC Cincinnati: Murphy 66′, 79′ (red – yellow card accumulation)

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

BySarah Kallassy

Managing Editor

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David Rusk

Just caught the thrilling score and highlights after our granddaughter’s wedding in Walnut Creek CA. A perfect end to a wonderful day.


I love Rooney’s point about Santos and Dajome–about how their practice performance earned them starts. That’s a great message to send to the team (and some quiet criticism of who he was planning to start that didn’t show up in practice).

Yes, Cincinnati was “depleted.” So are we when you look at our injury list and Taxi and Palsson having played internationally (so you figure they won’t start). I’m sure the mid-week game took some juice out of Cincinnati’s legs. But ultimately their loss was a function of their inability to deal with Benteke and the first two goals were about us getting numbers in the box. I still thought Cincinnati looked good, showed smart play, great possession. It would be interesting to hear Noonan’s comments posts-game and see what he said. I’m pretty sure (given what I’ve heard from him earlier) he wouldn’t say they were tired or “just one of those games.” He’s probably say he was disappointed because they’re making a run at the shield and home cooking the entire playoffs, that his team took this match seriously but was terrible at giving us a second or third chance rather than stopping the initial shot and clearing (or distributing out of danger).

Matt Glad

Wasn’t able to catch this game as I was attending a friend’s wedding in KY. Needless to say my fiancé and I were ecstatic to see the score once we got back to the hotel.

I hope Williams is rewarded with a run of games at central CB. In my opinion, he’s been better than Birnbaum in that position this season. I know Steve is the captain, but I think it’ll be hard to slot him back in if the results continue.

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