D.C. United came out on the wrong end of a combative preseason match with NYCFC, falling to a 2-1 defeat. With the two sides playing at the Philadelphia Union’s training facility, a lone goal from rookie Kimarni Smith was sandwiched by tallies from Valentin Castellanos and Andres Jasson for City. Castellanos and United’s Junior Moreno were both sent off just before halftime in a game that had plenty of tough tackles throughout.
After accounting for several injuries, Hernán Losada sent out something close to his best available lineup. Rookie Kimarni Smith got to start up front as a striker rather than out on the flank in a 3421, with Edison Flores and Yamil Asad supporting him from dual attacking midfield roles.
United’s high pressure causes the Pigeons fits in the opening minutes, but NYCFC ended up with the game’s first serious look in the 6th minute. Frederic Brillant ended up with the initial mistake, misreading the speed of a rolling ball, but he eventually made up for it by clearing Valentin Castellanos’s eventual looping shot off the line.
Both teams suffered from some disjointed passing as the half went on in extremely windy conditions, but after a decent attack gave them a corner, United ended up conceding in the 27th minute. United took that corner kick short, but an attempted square pass to the top of the box became a jailbreak counter from 80 yards for NYCFC. With no one but Seitz behind the ball, United had little hope of shutting the counter down, and eventually Maxi Moralez drew Seitz before passing to Castellanos to deposit the ball into the empty net.
United had an instant response though, with Smith equalizing in the 29th minute. The Black-and-Red broke an NYCFC offside trap attempt, with Flores and Smith with plenty of space to attack three retreating defenders. Flores took the ball to the touchline before cutting it towards the goalmouth, where Smith knifed between Sebastian Ibeagha and Alexander Callens to glance the ball across goal and just barely inside the back post.
Junior Moreno was booked for a tough challenge shortly after the goal, and just before halftime a second tough tackle from the Venezuelan sparked a scuffle at midfield. Moreno was given a second yellow card amid the dispute, while Castellanos was given a straight red card for his part. However, owing to it being preseason, both sides agreed to remain at 11-on-11, with Moses Nyeman and Andres Jasson entering as substitutes.
NYCFC took a quick 2-1 lead coming into the second half, this time from an attacking corner. The ball ended up finding its way to Jasson at the top of the box, who had plenty of room before shooting low into traffic, where the ball took a huge deflection off of Donovan Pines after Seitz had already made a jump to his left, bobbling over the line in the 51st minute.
The Pigeons had the game’s next three shot attempts, all long range bids sent over the bar, while United’s attacks were foiled more than once by the offside flag. After 70 minutes, United made seven substitutions, bringing in a mix of unidentified trialists, Loudoun United players Drew Skundrich and Jeremy Garay, and 2021 2nd round pick Logan Panchot.
United used the addition of fresh legs to press aggressively, often flooding the NYCFC half with numbers, but ultimately both sides struggled to string together much in the way of coherent attacks, with the game petering out as a midfield battle over the final minutes.
The loss is United’s second of the preseason, both to MLS opposition. The Black-and-Red wrap up their preseason schedule next Saturday, April 10, where they’ll take on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Kickoff is set for 1:00pm.
Preseason - Game 4
D.C. United 1 (Smith 29)
New York City FC 2 (Castellanos 27, Jasson 51)
DCU (3421): Chris Seitz; Brendan Hines-Ike (Trialist #80 70), Frederic Brillant (Trialist #62 70), Donovan Pines; Julian Gressel (Logan Panchot 70), Russell Canouse (Jeremy Garay 70), Junior Moreno (sent off; Moses Nyeman 46), Joseph Mora (Adrien Perez 70); Edison Flores (Griffin Yow 70), Yamil Asad (Drew Skundrich 70); Kimarni Smith (Ola Kamara 46)
NYCFC (4231): Sean Johnson; Tayvon Gray, Sebastian Ibeagha (Vuk Latinovich 77), Alexander Callens (Nicolas Acevedo 46), Gudmundur Thorarinsson (Chris Gloster 77); James Sands, Keaton Parks (Gedion Zelalem 77); Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Maxi Morales, Jesus Medina; Valentin Castellanos (sent off - Andres Jasson 46+)
DCU - Moreno 32, Moreno 44 (sent off), Panchot 80
NYCFC - Castellanos 45 (red), Sands 53