As we begin to experience the first signs of spring here in the District, we also get to experience our second home match of D.C. United’s 2019 season. These early season games can be both fun and worrisome, rough and beautiful, sharp and messy. The team is beginning to figure out what it’s going to be this year—even though, of course, the tide can always turn.
The Black-and-Red have a win under their belts and a respectable road draw. What’ll it be against Real Salt Lake tonight?
Donald Wine II
The Black-and-Red return home to take on Real Salt Lake, and it will be a match that feels much more open than the match that occurred in the Bronx last weekend. Wayne Rooney will notch his first goal of the season, and then he’ll hook up with Paul Arriola for the game’s second goal. More importantly, the defense will once again keep the opposition staring at a goose egg under their name on the scoreboard. 2-0 D.C., and they enter the international break with 7 points and 0 goals conceded.
Funny thing about RSL is the only time they’ve won in D.C. was during the great RFK flood of 2017. Even when D.C. stunk up 2013, they still beat RSL at RFK. After seeing RSL look unconvincing against a still learning one another Vancouver side, I don’t think they come into Audi Field and start setting the world afire. Luciano Acosta gets a first-half goal and Rooney nets a second, and Jefferson Savarino gets one back, but D.C. extends the undefeated streak to 10 at home with a 2-1 win.
Gimme 3-0 good guys. Back at home and hungry to score, los Capitalinos turn the attack way up, hitting the visitors in waves. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes for LuchoRoo to combine for Rooney’s first goal of the year. It’ll be quickly followed by Titi Rodriguez’s first for the Black-and-Red, again with Acosta on the assist. Rooney sets up USMNTer Paul Arriola in the second half. Bill Hamid makes a big save or two, but mostly isn’t troubled as the midfield and defense keep the Claret-and-Cobalt in front of them.
RSL hasn’t been good on the road under Mike Petke, and as Ryan points out, the District has never been kind to them under any coach. I think the early portion of the game will be a high-tempo, back-and-forth sort of affair with chances at both ends before Rooney strikes from long range around the 40th minute. United takes that momentum into the second half, with Rooney scoring again from close range after some really good combination play. The home side goes close to a third more than once, but ultimately settles into a groove, retaining some possession and keeping Bill Hamid’s workload on the lighter side. 2-0 DCU.
It seems to me that this is a question as to whether D.C. can limit the effectiveness of Albert Rusnak, as the Slovak international has scored both of RSL’s goals thus far this season. United will be happy to be in the familiar confines of Audi Field, after a 0-0 draw in New York. D.C. strikes first through Wayne Rooney, and Paul Arriola tallies his second of the year to give the home side a 2-0 lead. Arriola’s goal ultimately proves to be the winner, as the aforementioned Rusnak scores a late goal to make things interesting, but ultimately United hangs on for a 2-1 win.
This one’s gotta be a win. After a scoreless draw last week, you know DCU are eager to get on the board, and I’m betting we see an opener from Lucho Acosta. We’ll get another goal in the first half, too, this time from who else but Wayne Rooney? It’s LuchaRoo time, people! Paul Arriola strikes in the second half as well to seal the 3-0 home win. RSL leave empty-handed.
What’s your prediction for tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments, but don’t pass by this week’s extremely important poll.
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