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D.C. United to host friendly against Real Betis

Audi Field’s first friendly against European opposition will take place on May 22

D.C. United confirmed a long-expected friendly against Real Betis today, bringing a European club to Audi Field for the first time ever. The game is set for May 22nd at 8:00pm, four days after Betis finishes up their season in La Liga. The announcement had been held up due to Betis possibly having to stay home due to their participation in the Copa del Rey and the Europa League, but defeats at the hands of Valencia and Stade Rennais left them with no official games past their league finale (May 19th against Real Madrid).

Betis currently sits in 8th place in La Liga, just two points outside the Europa League places and six points away from a spot in next year’s UEFA Champions League. Their roster includes numerous internationals, including Andres Guardado, Diego Lainez (both Mexico), Marc Bartra (Spain), Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina), William Carvalho (Portugal), and Aissa Mandi (Algeria). Their manager Quique Setien has also garnered plenty of attention due to his unflinching emphasis on possession and high-pressing, including possible links to someday taking the same post with Barcelona.

United’s first-ever friendly on Buzzard Point was a 1-1 draw last fall with CD Olimpia, though Ben Olsen fielded a reserve-laden squad (including a handful of guest players from the Richmond Kickers) to give his regular starters a rest. We might see a similar scenario with players coming up from Loudoun United, as the Black-and-Red have road games in Houston (May 18th) and New England (May 25th). Steve Goff of the Washington Post is reporting that United wants to play two more friendlies this year, with games in July and during a two-week gap between games in September.