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.

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

Box Score

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

Misconduct Summary

D.C. United: Canouse 33′, Ruan 70′, Hines-Ike 75′

Featured image courtesy of D.C. United // Jim Dedmon

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David Rusk

Excellent article, Alex, except that you’ve joined my “its list.” The proper word should be “Benteke’s strength in hold up play is gradually moving back toward its best” as “its” is the possessive modifier. “ It’s” is solely the contraction of “ it is” but is often misused as the possessive. And its’ does NOT exist … ever. I’ll forgive you as IPhone autocorrect often fumbles the differences. Welcome to the stable of DP writers/editors.

Ryan Hunt

Interesting formation last night. It seemed to be a 4-3-2-1 with Fajardo, Pirani, and Benteke all given license to roam but Benteke up top the most. It helped our defensive stability to have three deeper midfielders but Pirani struggled to really get involved and most of our chances were on the break.

Rotation is going to have to happen this week and it will be interesting to see who comes in and who sits. I think Benteke probably needs to start on the bench at least one of the games, he looks tired out there, and for my money I’d rather see Fajardo spell him against RBNY and sit deeper that game while letting Dajome, Ruan, and Fajardo hit on the counter with their speed.


Pirani really is more effective in the middle. He was on the wing quite a bit and is less effective there. I would anticipate that the coaches saw this as well.


Benteke is a beast out there, a potentially dominating presence, but, man, he’s got to do better finishing those chances. At some point, it’s not “unlucky” when he keeps hitting the frame or hitting hit it right at the keeper.

Will Nelson

It felt like none of the players had their finishing boots on Saturday night.


Which is a thing for us, has been a thing for us, for years now. Were it not, we wouldn’t be so mediocre. So many players that once upon a time knew how to shoot the ball well (I’m looking at Andy, Yamil, even Brendan) have forgotten where the net is. In fact, the only one who seems to know is Teddy.

Brendan Cartwright

The biggest culprit on Saturday for me was Klich. His first minute shot needed to be on target, if not a goal. Benteke has never been especially clinical. He needs to get his chances, and he’ll bury enough of them, but he’ll miss much more. It’d be great to see Fajardo knock in a couple (where he’s onside), or maybe Kristian Fletcher will really find his finishing boots in Swansea. But we definitely need to get a scorer with our third DP slot next year. And they can’t be racist.

Will Nelson

Team’s Facebook has posted that Tyler Miller has been placed on the season-ending injury list.

Talonesque #

Was just coming here to say this. Looks like, if we make the playoffs, it will be with two goalkeepers

Brendan Cartwright

Dane Jacomen has been training with the team. He’d likely be the third keeper, should one be needed.

Will Nelson

No Freedom Kicks yet this week so I’m putting it here for now.

The NWSL is returning to Boston:

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