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D.C. United, Nashville SC battle to 1-1 preseason draw

A lineup heavy on second choice players got a draw against Nashville’s projected starters

Xavi Dussaq/Courtesy of D.C. United

D.C. United and Nashville SC settled for a 1-1 preseason draw this evening in Clearwater, Florida. Offseason acquisition Erik Sorga, ahead of an expected promotion from the Loudoun United roster, gave the Black-and-Red an early lead, only for Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar to score a quick equalizer from the penalty spot.

With only two days between this match and a final preseason dress rehearsal in which he expects to field probable starters, Ben Olsen rotated heavily despite facing Nashville’s projected starters. Trialists Aaron Maund and Carter Manley got a big chance to prove themselves, while fullbacks Oniel Fisher and Chris Odoi-Atsem both continued to push towards full fitness in what, based on observations from recent training sessions, likely set up in a 433:

Unlike their previous outings, in which every United goal came late in the game, the Black-and-Red wasted no time. While we can’t tell you much about the goal, we can tell you that Erik Sorga — who is still technically only under contract with Loudoun United, though he should be offered an MLS deal any time now — made it 1-0 in the 8th minute:

However, the lead would last just four minutes. A foul in United’s box handed the MLS expansion side a penalty kick, with Nashville DP Hany Mukhtar slotting past Chris Seitz from the spot. Per the Washington Post’s Steve Goff, Maund was called for the foul:

In the minutes after the goal, the more experienced Nashville lineup appeared to take control of proceedings, creating a couple of dangerous moments before Chris Seitz had to produce a big save to keep the scores level:

Seitz had to make another save within three minutes, this time apparently tipping a long-range shot up off the crossbar:

United offered something of a reply, with Kevin Paredes heavily involved, but Seitz had to make another save as the half wore down:

Olsen made two changes at halftime, with an academy player replacing Fisher at left back, while Junior Moreno stepped in for Manley at the base of the midfield:

United apparently improved at the break, with Nyeman, Paredes, and Yow combining to carve out a look early in the half:

Just after the hour mark, United made a mass substitution, bringing in most of what is likely the starting lineup for opening day. Griffin Yow was the only starter to stay in, playing on the wing in what was most likely a 4231:

An apparently energized United had the game’s next two chances. Ulises Segura and Julian Gressel combined moments after entering, with Gressel being denied by former United goalkeeper Joe Willis:

Willis stood strong again a few minutes later, denying the busy Segura after the latter had combined with his Costa Rica teammate Joseph Mora:

Earl Edwards Jr. had to make two saves in the minutes that followed, though neither sounded like much of a challenge. Up at the other end, a Steven Birnbaum header ended up creating a chance from open play for United, with Ola Kamara denied by Willis:

However, neither team could find the breakthrough, with few chances reported in the final minutes. United will wrap up their preseason this Saturday, February 22, at 5:00pm, facing the Philadelphia Union in Clearwater, FL.

Highlights, if they are made available, will be added later.

Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex (Clearwater, FL)

D.C. United 1 (Sorga 8)
Nashville SC 1 (Mukhtar 12pen)

DCU (433): Chris Seitz (Earl Edwards Jr. 61); Chris Odoi-Atsem (Russell Canouse 61), Aaron Maund (Frederic Brillant 61), Shane Wiedt* (Steven Birnbaum 61), Oniel Fisher (academy player 46, Joseph Mora 61); Moses Nyeman (Felipe 61), Carter Manley (Junior Moreno 46), Kevin Paredes (Julian Gressel 61); Griffin Yow, Erik Sorga* (Ola Kamara 61), Emmanuel Boateng (Ulises Segura 61)

NSC (4231): Joe Willis; Eric Miller, Walker Zimmerman (Jalil Anibaba 82), Dave Romney, Daniel Lovitz; Dax McCarty, Anibal Godoy; Hany Mukhtar (Alan Winn 71), Derrick Jones (Abu Danladi 63), Randall Leal; Dominique Badji (Daniel Rios 63)

Note: Players marked with an asterisk are under contract with Loudoun United. Players in italics are trialists/academy players who are not under contract.

DCU - None
NSC - None