D.C. United came through with a decisive 4-0 win over Chicago Fire FC to land in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings. While it’s not quite decision day yet, the Black-and-Red are making a statement of their playoff intentions.
While the Black-and-Red looked a bit gassed last week against Philadelphia, they came out swinging against the Fire. A high-energy D.C. United side kept the pace up to score early.
Mateusz Klich, playing a bit deeper than he has been (thank you!), fired a cross from the halfway line to connect with Christian Benteke up top. Benteke took a quick two steps around Rafael Czichos before taking a sizzling left-footed shot past Chris Brady in the 9′.
Benteke’s early strike put Chicago at a disadvantage as the Fire as of late has been tough to beat when they take an early lead. Since Chicago bested Minnesota United in the Open Cup, they’ve gone 9-0-3 across all competitions when in the lead past the 75′.
D.C. United kept a foot on the gas, and by the 20′, Ted Ku-DiPietro had made it 2-0. Caught between Czichos and Carlos Terán, Benteke found Ku-DiPietro in the box for a one-touch strike.
Alex Bono shut down Chicago’s veteran striker Kei Kamari in the 38′ as he made a bid to surpass Landon Donovan (145 career goals in MLS) and claim second place in the league’s all-time scoring chart.
A dustup in traffic saw Chicago’s Terán become an unlikely hero for the Black-and-Red, scoring an own goal in the 41′ and bringing the tally 3-0 by the halftime whistle. Terán became an unwitting contributor to the Black-and-Red’s scoreline when he crashed into Ku-DiPietro in the box, attempting to tackle him.
Back in action for the second half, Chicago tried to find the back of the net at all costs. Frank Klopas swapped out designated player Xherdan Shaqiri and Kamara, among others, in a bid to put fresh legs on the pitch.
Klopas’ swaps were for naught, D.C.’s defense easily shut down Chicago’s second-half attempts. Bono making easy work of a Czichos’ header in the 86′, the Fire’s lone on-target opportunity.
Benteke fired a final stunner in the 90′ + 1′ from the left side of the box to put a final flourish on an already fantastic match from D.C. United.
At the end of the day, D.C. United were played like they were having fun, and the enthusiasm was certainly contagious resulting in arguably the most entertaining game the team has played in months.
We look forward to more entertaining matches as D.C. United stays at home to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on September 9 at 7:30 pm ET.
- Ted Ku-DiPietro makes the case for playing your kids. With his fifth goal of the 2023 season, Ku-DiPietro has now scored in two straight matches for the Black-and-Red. We’re hoping to see more of him as the season races toward the playoffs. Wayne Rooney said, “He’s a very clever player. And I think it’s exciting. I think Ted is one of the best young American players.”
- A better position for Klich. Mateusz Klich has been an interesting player to watch all season, but we’ve felt something has been off. Shifting him to play deeper seems to be just the move to unlock his potential in D.C.’s lineup. He recorded his eighth assist, firing a ball from the halfway line to Benteke to put the Black-and-Red in the lead early.
- Bono keeps a clean sheet. Bono put in a good shift for the Black-and-Red with his second MLS start. The three saves and a clean sheet are more than admirable. While Tyler Miller’s injury and subsequent absence are a blow to D.C. United, Bono seems to have the situation well in hand.
MLS Regular Season – Game 30
D.C. United: 4 Benteke 9′, Ku-DiPietro 20′, Teran (OG Chicago) 41′, Benteke 90′ + 1′
Chicago Fire FC: 0
D.C. United: Alex Bono, Éric Davis (Pedro Santos, 78′), Derrick Williams (Brendan Hines-Ike 24′), Steven Birnbaum, Andy Najar, Russell Canouse (Chris Durkin 78′), Gabriel Pirani, Ted Ku-DiPietro (José Fajardo 73′), Mateusz Klich, Cristian Dájome (Ruan 78′), Christian Benteke
Chicago Fire FC: Chris Brady, Arnaud Souquet, Daniel Aceves (Miguel Navarro 59′), Carlos Teran, Rafael Czichos, Maren Haile-Selassie (Xherdan Shaqiri 46′), Brian Gutierrez, Fabian Herbers (Jairo Torres 58′), Gaston Giminez, Federico Navarro (Ousmane Doumbia 27′), Kei Kamara (Georgios Koutsias 65′)
Chicago Fire FC: Navarro 21′
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United // Hannah Wagner