After a fairly even matchup, D.C. United had the better share of chances and walked away from a scoreless draw with Charlotte FC deserving more. Both teams came into the match day knowing that three points would be crucial in bolstering their playoff hopes, and that knowledge looked apparent straight from the first whistle.
In the opening seven minutes D.C. United had several good chances which they failed to capitalize on, while Charlotte couldn’t take advantage of their own promising attempt.
In the eighth minute, a fast-paced Charlotte attack led to a shot from the center of the box, which was denied by an outstanding sliding block by Donovan Pines. The hectic passage of play saw the block ricochet the ball into Pines’ arm, prompting Jon Freemon to check VAR for a possible handball, ultimately ruling against it as Pines had no time to react.
The initial block looked to be carrying the ball out for a corner, but the deflection from Pines’ arm directed it goalward, demanding a fine fingertip save onto the post by Bono to keep the game scoreless.
As the half progressed, Charlotte looked the more dangerous side with Enzo Copetti being a noticeable thorn in the side of the D.C. defense. Important last-ditch defensive efforts from Chris Durkin, and several more from Pines, helped keep the game level going into the break.
A less eventful second 45′ saw D.C. with the better of the sparse chances, both big ones coming from Christian Benteke.
In the 56th minute, Benteke hit the bar with a header on the back of a cross from Eric Davis.
In the 66th, Benteke beat his defender and forced a save off the face of Kristijan Kahlina.
- Benteke looks to be returning to form. While tonight the Belgian had some wayward passes and lackluster finishing, he again looked solid. Since ending his goal drought in his Man of the Match performance against the Chicago Fire two weeks ago, Benteke has looked good in the following matches and was unlucky not to score in each. His strength in hold up play is gradually moving back toward its’ best, and his confidence looks to be returning – a good sign for D.C. United fans going into the final stretch of the season.
- Third straight clean sheet for D.C. and Alex Bono. Since stepping in for injured Tyler Miller, Alex Bono has recorded three clean sheets out of four matches. Today’s draw makes it the third consecutive shutout for Bono and D.C. United’s defense. Solid performances from the backup keeper, paired with the return of Donovan Pines, look to be a good boost in D.C. United’s favor for their playoff push.
Charlotte FC: 0
D.C. United: 0
Charlotte FC: Kristijan Kahlina, Jere Uronen, Nathan Byrne, Adilson Malanda, Ashley Westwood, Brecht Dejaegere (Justin Meram 65′), Brandt Bronico (Scott Arfield 65′), Ben Bender (Kamil Jozwiak 78′), Andrew Privett, Enzo Copetti (Patrick Agyemang 78′), Karol Swiderski (Kerwin Vargas 86′)
D.C. United: Alex Bono, Ruan (Andy Najar 84′), Brendan Hines-Ike, Donovan Pines, Eric Davis, Russell Canouse, Chris Durkin, Gabriel Pirani (Ted Ku-DiPietro 74′), Mateusz Klich, José Fajardo (Nigel Robertha 74′), Christian Benteke
D.C. United: Canouse 33′, Ruan 70′, Hines-Ike 75′
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United // Jim Dedmon