D.C. United got their first win of 2020, seeing off USL Championship side Louisville City in a preseason match played in Clearwater, FL. Despite a series of chances, including a first half penalty kick from Paul Arriola that was saved, United had to wait until the 70th minute to take the lead on a goal from Loudoun United midfielder Michael Gamble, who has been training with D.C. throughout the preseason.
United started the match with a more complete lineup than they’ve been able to field thus far in the preseason. Paul Arriola, Bill Hamid, Joseph Mora, and Ulises Segura all returned from international duty to start, while Junior Moreno made his first appearance of the preseason as he builds back up from offseason surgery.
Notable absentees on the day included Ola Kamara, Donovan Pines, and Yamil Asad. While Pines and Asad have had knocks previously reported by Steve Goff of the Washington Post, Kamara’s status is unclear.
United apparently got out on the front foot early, with Mora getting into an attacking position:
Mora was at it again a few minutes later, winning a free kick that United couldn’t capitalize on. However, it wasn’t one-way traffic, as Hamid had to concede a corner while making a save in the 14th minute:
While United’s first notable set piece chance didn’t amount to much, Julian Gressel won a foul and then forced a save from a long way out on the resulting free kick.
19' A hard foul from Louisville on Gressel but he's up on his feet quickly. Gressel rifles the free kick from 40+ yards out and forces the goalkeeper to make a save. Corner kick.— D.C. United Matchday (@DCUmatchday) February 6, 2020
0-0#DCU | #DCvLouCity
The chances appear to mostly be happening in front of Louisville’s goal, with Erik Sorga nearly marking his first appearance of any kind with the club with an early goal, while United later saw Russell Canouse denied following a Gressel corner:
In what is likely a pre-planned move to manage minutes for Moreno and Sorga, Ben Olsen made two early subs, bringing Emmanuel Boateng and homegrown midfielder Moses Nyeman in, and moving Segura up front:
The moves paid off quickly, as within four minutes, Nyeman won a penalty kick. Unfortunately for the Black-and-Red, though, Arriola’s spot kick was saved by Louisville goalkeeper Chris Hubbard:
37' @MNyeman reads the defender and latches on to a loose ball outside of the box. He is taken down with a penalty awarded to the Black-and-Red. Arriola steps up but his effort is well-saved. 0-0#DCU | #DCvLouCity— D.C. United Matchday (@DCUmatchday) February 6, 2020
Gressel continued to be in the thick of things, creating this chance just before halftime that Boateng just barely put over the bar:
United came out with the same eleven that ended the half, while Louisville made eight changes. The sides exchanged looks early, with Segura apparently firing wide in the 49th minute and Hamid making a save on Cameron Lancaster’s shot three minutes later.
Boateng was proving a pest for the Louisville defense, nearly getting through on a pass from Frederic Brillant in the 61st minute before shooting high a few minutes later. Between those chances, Olsen made the customary wholesale changes, bringing on nine new players:
62' Mass substitutions. New lineup: Edwards Jr., Fisher, Dengler, Maund, Odoi-Atsem; Manley, Nyeman; Paredes, Yow, Boateng; Gamble— D.C. United Matchday (@DCUmatchday) February 6, 2020
Finally, United’s control of proceedings paid off with a goal. Boateng was again involved, as was homegrown attacker Griffin Yow, but it was Loudoun United call-up Michael Gamble applying the finishing touch in the 70th minute:
Louisville’s attack hadn’t come up much, but after falling behind they showed some signs of life. First, Earl Edwards Jr. had to produce a save in the 76th minute, and then trialist Aaron Maund produced a late intervention on a long ball moments later:
However, United appears to have managed the game from there, with only one Louisville chance in the final minutes that either club felt was worth mentioning.
Today’s game concluded the first leg of United’s preseason, with the club returning to the District tomorrow. After a few days here, they’ll return to Florida in the middle of next week ahead of their next preseason match, a February 15 clash with Orlando City.
Highlights will added when/if they are made available.
Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex (Clearwater, FL)
D.C. United 1 (Gamble 70)
Louisville City FC 0
DCU (4231): Bill Hamid (Earl Edwards Jr. 62); Russell Canouse (Oniel Fisher 62), Frederic Brillant (Jake Dengler 62), Steven Birnbaum (Aaron Maund* 62), Joseph Mora (Chris Odoi-Atsem 62); Felipe (Carter Manley* 62), Junior Moreno (Moses Nyeman 33); Julian Gressel (Kevin Paredes 62), Paul Arriola (Griffin Yow 62), Ulises Segura (Michael Gamble 62); Erik Sorga (Emmanuel Boateng 33)
LCFC (4312): Chris Hubbard; Pat McMahon, Jimmy Ockford, Sean Totsch, Oscar Jimenez; Devon Williams, Paolo DelPiccolo, Magnus Rasmussen; Niall McCabe; Luke Spencer, Antoine Hoppenot
(Ben Lundt, Akil Watts, Alexis Souahy, Napo Matsoso, Corben Bone, Cameron Lancaster, George Davis IV, Abou Mbacke Thiam, and Brian Ownby all also appeared for Louisville)
Note: Players listed in italics are under contract with Loudoun United. Players marked with an asterisk are not under contract.
DCU - None
LCFC - McCabe 57