Tonight, D.C. United travel to Bank of America Stadium to face Charlotte FC in what feels like a must-win for both sides.

As we near the end of the regular season the fight for playoff qualification roars on, and these two teams are in the thick of it. D.C. currently sits in ninth place, the final slot for playoff qualification, with 34 points. Charlotte sits in eleventh place, three points shy of D.C., but with two games in hand. Only seven points separate eighth place from fourteenth, so at this stage in the campaign every single point counts.

D.C. and Charlotte have a brief, yet vibrant history. Only facing each other three times in the league since Charlotte’s introduction to the MLS in 2022, one of those meetings being Charlotte’s first-ever MLS match. That match would see D.C. give them a cutthroat introduction to the league, winning 3-0. Their other two outings would repeat this scoreline, with Charlotte winning the reverse fixture and United winning the pair’s most recent clash in April.

Key Player: Christian Benteke

After an eight-game scoreless run, Benteke got back on the scoresheet against Chicago with two quality goals, and an assist to boot. Overall he was at the center of everything during United’s 4-0 rout of the Fire. In D.C.’s most recent match against the San Jose Earthquakes, Benteke looked sharp once again and was only denied by a Man of the Match performance from the San Jose keeper.

Watch out for: Karol Świderski

The Polish forward has slowed from his great midseason form, but he’s still Charlotte’s most creative player with seven goals and three assists in the league this season. An adept dribbler and a skilled finisher, he is surely the player that D.C. fans should be most worried about.

D.C. United Availability:

Out: Martin Rodriguez (knee), Mohanad Jeahze (ankle), Tyler Miller (rib), Derrick Williams (calf)

Questionable: Steven Birnbaum (hip), Andy Najar (thigh), Ted Ku-DiPietro (thigh)

Charlotte FC Availability:

Out: Hamady Diop (groin), Vinicius Mello (lower leg)

Questionable: Brecht Dejaegere (thigh)

Location: Bank of America Stadium, North Carolina

Kickoff time: 7:30 PM ET

Referee: Jon Freemon

Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV

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Ryan Hunt

Najar is being reported by Goff as doubtful. While his skill set is unique on the team, I don’t think risking him on turf is a good idea.

David Rusk


David Rusk

I see that Jon Freeman is reffing tonight. I know nothing about him.

I rarely become a fan of a referee. The last was Javier Castrilli in Argentina in 1996. Nicknamed El Sheriff for his strict application of the rules, Castrilli reffed in Primera División from 1980 to 1998. He retired after reffing in the 1998 World Cup and later (unsuccessfully) ran for intendente (Mayor) of Buenos Aires.

However, having watched her ref the Women’s World Cup final and DC United’s match last Saturday and another earlier this season (whether DCU or Spirit, I cannot recall), I’ve become a fan of Tori Penso. She decisive, fair, consistent, always well positions vis a vis the play, and exudes an air of unflappable command and control. I think that she’s the best American referee.

Ryan Hunt

I wasn’t the biggest fan when she first started refereeing games, buts she’s improved a ton and always seems in charge of games now.


She was consistent. I was pretty perplexed by a bevy of no-foul decisions she made when i think 98% of other referees would’ve called fouls at the last game.

Bryan McEachern

Independent observation: She was terrific.


With the draw in the Hudson River derby, and Miami imploding at Atlanta, tonight’s match presents DC United with a fantastic opportunity to grab the reins to secure a play-in spot.

Inspires me to write my first Wayne Rooney fan-fic story… In this take, the gaffer leads DCU on a stunning run to the MLS Cup title at the same time that Manchester United totally sours on the Ten Hag project. Wayne basks in the glory of winning the MLS Cup for about ten minutes before signing a deal to take over in Manchester….

Brendan Cartwright

I think everybody would be happy with that. At least until next season started.

Ryan Hunt

Ten Hag at Man I reminds me a little of Losada. He’s coming down super hard on discipline and it worked, kinda, last year but he’s not doing a great job rotating players and now it’s starting to fade a bit as injuries/discipline piles up.

Rooney has shown here that he’s not great at balancing a roster, not sure how he’d do with Man Us current financial disaster.

Ryan Hunt

Birnbaum and Williams both out so Pines gets a start.

I’m thinking it will be:

But I wouldn’t be surprised if Durkin is played at RW/RAM.

Interesting, and a little disappointed to not see Hopkins in the 20.


Good call on the lineup. That’s the Starting XI according to the team website.

I’m a little disappointed to not see KDP but I guess he is carrying some kind of – hopefully minor – injury. He is on the bench.

Will Nelson
Brendan Cartwright

Really nice counterattack buildup, and Klich NEEDED to do better with that.

Will Nelson

That would’ve been really rough on Pines. That deflected off his foot and into his arm.

Ryan Hunt

Klich has been everywhere tonight. This off-season just needs to be Hopkins and Durkin shadowing him 24/7 to try and three quarters of his fitness.

Will Nelson

Bono is hurt, not good

Ryan Hunt

Fajardo is playing….not terrible. Showing good speed and effort. Final ball/decision isn’t quite there yet but he’s got to be ahead of Robertha at this point and might be pulling ahead of Dajome.

These announcers thought…..not great.

Brendan Cartwright

Yeah, Fajardo hasn’t had a lot of time to show what he can do (and giving up that foul to Jersey didn’t help), but I think he’s got promise. And he did just score again for Panama on international duty.

Brendan Cartwright

Brendan Hines-Ike a little slow to get off the surface. A year ago in this stadium, that’s where his foot exploded. If you haven’t heard his interview on the latest Pitch Pass show yet, I highly encourage it.

Brendan Cartwright

I feel like Pines’s lack of playing time is showing up. He’s looked pretty dicey, but it’s kind of hard to fault him. You know what you’re going to get with him, and with that time off, his usual mistakes are getting magnified.

Ryan Hunt

He’s also showing much better reaction speed and athleticism than any of our other CBs. I think it’s worth the occasional mistake from having him on the field in order to have his physical dominance out there.

Brendan Cartwright

It helps a lot that the group defending has been on point tonight. Some scrambling for sure, but dealing with Charlotte well.

Will Nelson

Its been a physical battle between Pines and Capottei tonight, but Pines looks to be holding his own.

Ryan Hunt

Eric Davis hasn’t been All-Star quality or anything, but he has been a massive upgrade over Santos.


3 points are there for the taking — but I’m continually amazed how other clubs are able to bring in quality MLS veterans like Meram, Finley, etc., and we are forced to get players no one wants. like Asad.

Brendan Cartwright

I guess your mileage may vary on how you assess Dajome.


Yaw Yeboah has 3 goals and 5 assists.

Dajome has 2 goals and 1 assist.


Justin Meram makes just under $500k and Finlay makes $425k. Asad makes $100k. Based on their salaries, Meram and Finlay *should* be doing more. Asad is essentially getting paid as someone that can make spot starts and subs when others aren’t available or the situation is right…which is what is happening. Every team has to have lower paid players that aren’t going to be as productive, but can still contribute in some way. We used to talk on the site of the “standard” DC player with the likes of Jared Jeffrey or NDL. Can be thrown essentially anywhere on the field to spell anyone. I think that’s the roll Asad is serving. He’s not supposed to be someone groundbreaking. Now Dajome and his salary are a different story

Brendan Cartwright

They didn’t bring in Yaw Yeboah as an MLS veteran.

Although, DC was trying to sign Yeboah, and then Columbus did get him. But it’s taken him a season or two to really become much of a contributor.


One of the things about being a DC United fanatic is we have to get to watch so many games like this — truly tense, magnificent displays of the joga bonito, instead of snoozefests, quality-deficient matches like Columbus – Orlando (3-2) or Phlilly – Cincy (now 2-2).

Last edited 2 months ago by Fischy

Hines-Ike right to be pissed about the hit on Bono. That should be a yellow card in any league. Attacker ran right into him, with no hope of playing the ball. DIdn’t even try to jump for it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Fischy
Ryan Hunt

Durkin has had a really good second half. He’s so much better when the game opens up and his passing range/vision can really start to control the tempo.

Meanwhile, Bentekes passing has been off all night. Hopefully it’s just the turf. KDP and Robertha have both been pretty quiet since they came on. As long as nobody gets injured then I’ll be content with a point tbh.


Encouraging to see the enthusiasm and energy shown by Bono and Pines there, yelling at each other after the game ended.


Orlando trailed Columbus 3-1 at 72′ mark, and won 4-3.

I feel there’s a lesson there.

Brendan Cartwright

The announcers were praising Swiderski when he came off as having had an excellent night. I thought he looked invisible the whole game, to DC’s defensive credit.

Brendan Cartwright

I’ll take that. The last time Alex Bono was scored on in MLS play, he was a Toronto FC player. He’s already in the top 10 of career clean sheets for DC United goalkeepers, and he’s only played four and a half games. That is astounding!

With Birnbaum, Williams, Hines-Ike, and Pines, that’s four solid center backs. I was kind of rooting for a Sargis cameo, but hard to argue with their performance.

We just don’t have a ton of offensive threats. Benteke had a couple of good chances, but Klich really needed to put his first minute shot on frame. Fajardo was active, but didn’t really have any threatening shots.

Well, a point on the road is pretty good, and denies Charlotte two extra points in trying to chase down DC. Two tough quick games coming up against Atlanta and Red Bulls. It could get ugly.

Will Nelson

Atlanta likes dropping goal fests on the trot it seems.


Let’s see how the teams on the Eastern Conference playoff bubble did this evening.

0-0, 0-0, aaaannnd… 0-0.

One of you said the other day that too much scoreboard watching is like rooting for a certain team to win, another to lose and another to get hepatititis. Montreal, Chicago, Charlotte, DC, NYC, and NJ all got hepatitis tonight. Hopefully of the non-contageous and asymptomatic variety. Miami got something nastier but the diagnosis is still pending.

So DC hosts Atlanta next on Wednesday. Maybe they;ll be overconfident and we’ll be focused due to our more desperate straits. We’ve gotten plenty of results against them going back to the Bennyball Era. Maybe we can do this!


If history is a guide, they need 9 points to get in. 2 tough road games later, so maybe they need to win all 3 home games remaining.

Will Nelson

I think every remaining home game at this point is must win if we want to get in. They should’ve beaten San Jose last week and didn’t.


Saw this little nugget at the end of Goff’s gamer in today’s WaPo:

The MLS roster deadline passed quietly Wednesday, with few moves around the league. United stood pat. Only free agents were available; the transfer and trade window closed Aug. 2.
“I knew nothing was going to come of it,” Rooney said of the roster deadline. “It may well have been up a couple of weeks ago for me.”

He gone.


Can you blame him?
We’ll have to retool the roster yet again.

Talonesque #

Honestly don’t feel this is a strategic loss, except that clearly the ownership group doesn’t have a backup idea. They’ll just hire another coach with no particular concepts or structures in place except what they temporarily want to do, and we’ll be absolutely fucked long term with an increasingly hodge podge squad. I wouldn’t touch this club with a ten foot pole, Rooney must have come for his personal connection as a player.

Last edited 2 months ago by Talonesque #
Bryan McEachern

I was struck by the remark. This franchise is a waste bin. I am agape with the total loss of initiative in one the best hotbeds of soccer in this nation.

I am auto-renewed for next season, after which I am gone gone gone. I will gladly offer tickets at cost to any member of the commentariat that can endure this fiasco further next season.

Brendan Cartwright

Given what Alex Bono has done, I think it’s fair to seriously question Rooney’s dedication to playing Tyler Miller so far up. Was there an advantage in play? Maybe. But we also certainly allowed several goals from long range because of Miller’s adventuring.

Bono’s success has also come with United reverting to a back four. That was what we had in the beginning of the season, but the offense was suffering. And… defensively we’re sound but our offense is suffering again. In both cases, there was no Taxi, too.

Ryan Hunt

I think Rooney was right to play Miller so far up to start. It gave us our best run of form but the problem with such a high keeper is it depends a lot on the form/confidence of the keeper. Once Miller started to mistime his jaunts then Rooney should have adjusted the play style and let him build confidence for a bit. But instead Miller kept coming out hard and misjudging his runs, resulting in more chances and you could see Miller trying to make up for his mistakes by making bigger and bigger plays instead of resetting and focusing on the basics.


I mean, Bono was way out of his goal on a long ball when Ruan was the last man back. Maybe Bono never saw Ruan. but the two nearly collided, and nearly gave the game away there. He’s trying to do much of what Rooney wanted from Miller, at least in positioning. It doesn’t look good.

If Rooney hangs around and really wants his keeper to play like that, we might have to look abroad, unless Zamudio is up to it.

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