It was a rough night at the office for D.C. United, who fell 8-1 (yes, eight) to Olympique Marseille on a breezy night at Audi Field. Maxime Lopez had a brace for the visitors, who scored four goals in one nine-minute span, and then had three in a separate six-minute spell at the end of the match.
With an eye on resting his regulars, Ben Olsen fielded an entirely changed lineup from the weekend’s loss at Atlanta. That included a debut for new signing Gordon Wild, playing the no. 10 role in a 4231, and a start for Loudoun call-up Collin Verfurth.
Both teams were intent early on using possession to try and generate openings, though Marseille looked slightly the more dangerous side. A 24th minute attack was perhaps their best, as a quick combination allowed them to cut through the congestion at the top of the box. Morgan Sanson’s deep run was rewarded, and while he managed to round captain for the night Chris Seitz, he couldn’t quite convert, sending his no-angle shot off the post.
The letoff was a warning of things to come. Within a minute of that shot hitting the post, a backheeled corner for the French giants beat Seitz but hit the post. The rebound fell to Marley Ake in front of a wide-open net, but he somehow contrived to send his shot from 2 yards sideways.
Ake would make up for it seconds later. United couldn’t put a stop to the unrelenting pressure, and Chris Durkin was called for a foul after clipping Ake’s foot in the box. Dutch international Kevin Strootman made no mistake from the spot, handing Marseille a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute.
Durkin produced a better tackle in the 39th minute, denying Maxime Lopez just before the France under-21 international got his shot away from 10 yards. Marseille continued to control the game, with Verfurth making a 41st minute block and Abdallah Ali Mohamed opting not to shoot into an empty net after a hard low cross got past Seitz in the 42nd.
United couldn’t get anything going, but suddenly had an equalizer in the 44th minute. Connor Presley and Ulises Segura combined well down the right wing, earning a corner. Marseille captain Steve Mandanda came for Wild’s service, but collided with players in traffic, leaving Quincy Amarikwa with the simple task of heading into an unguarded net.
Perhaps sparked to life by the goal, United nearly took a lead into halftime. Some high pressure forced a turnover in the OM half, and Amarikwa laid the ball off for Wild. The German was decisive, sprinting at the Marseille defense before cutting onto his left foot to hit a bending shot that Mandanda did well to contain.
OM would re-assert themselves straight out of the locker room, taking a quick lead despite making numerous subs. Winger Nemanja Radonjic, showed real speed, out-running Pressley on the right before storming into the box to rifle a shot past Seitz in the 48th minute.
The French club kept at it, and made it 3-1 in the 52nd minute. A corner found Lopez at the top of the box, and despite his slightly mis-hit volley bouncing into the grass, it somehow got through traffic, bouncing past an unsighted Seitz.
There was no let up coming. Bouna Sarr made it 4-1 in the 55th minute, and Lopez struck again in the 57th minute on a mazy run through traffic at the top of the box to expand the lead further. After the fifth goal — the fourth in a nine-minute span — Amarikwa and Seitz convened a quick huddle at the top of United’s box, trying to pick up a reeling young side.
United improved from there, and fielded an unorthodox look featuring Durkin at right back, but still had to lean on Seitz for a top-class save in the 72nd minute.
Mandanda had one to match it in the 81st minute, robbing Loudoun call-up Christian Sorto of a goal from long distance that clipped a defender in the way in. From the resulting corner, Amarikwa nearly had a brace, using a United teammate for leverage to hang up high and head on goal. Mandanda was once again up to the task, though, keeping the score 5-1.
Perhaps stung by United’s attempt to pull one back, Marseille had another outburst ready as a reply. Florian Chabrolle got a toe to a cross from the left in the 83rd minute, guiding it past Seitz, while a shot from Sarr that was going right at Seitz clipped the heels of Isaac Limadoi to beat Seitz two minutes later. Saif-Eddine Khaoui then ran onto a backheel from Dimitri Payet before ripping a 17-yarder past Seitz in the 89th minute, making it 8-1.
Mercifully, there was virtually no stoppage time. United, back to full strength, will head west to face the Chicago Fire this Saturday in a real game. Highlights will be added when they are made available.
D.C. United 1 (Amarikwa 44)
Olympique de Marseille 8 (Strootman 28pen; Radonjic 48; Lopez 52, 57; Sarr 55; Chabrolle 83; Limadoi 85; Khaoui 89)
DCU (4231): Chris Seitz (C); Chris Odoi-Atsem (Connor Presley 31, Allexon Saravia 62), Collin Verfurth, Jalen Robinson, Marquinhos Pedroso; Chris Durkin, Antonio Bustamante (Christian Sorto 79); Ulises Segura (Orlando Sinclair 62), Gordon Wild (Noah Pilato 72), Griffin Yow; Quincy Amarikwa
OM (352): Steve Mandanda (C); Hiroki Sakai (Jordan Amavi 46), Alvaro Gonzalez (Lucas Perrin 66), Duje Caleta-Car (Boubacar Kamara 46); Abdallah Ali Mohamed (Nemanja Radonjic 46), Kevin Strootman (Gregory Sertic 46), Morgan Sanson (Bouna Sarr 46), Maxime Lopez (Saif-Eddine Khaoui 66), Niels Nkounkou (Christopher Rocchia 31, Isaac Limadoi 46); Marley Ake (Dimitri Payet 46), Valere German (Florian Chabrolle 46)
DCU - None
OM - Caleta-Car 19