D.C. United started off their preseason schedule with a positive result, reportedly beating Inter Miami 1-0 in 2022 MLS preseason action today. 17-year-old attacker Jackson Hopkins, an academy player who saw minutes with Loudoun United last year, scored the game’s lone goal just before the hour mark as United fielded a mix of projected starters, younger players, and USL Championship call-ups to win a closed-door friendly at DRV PNK Stadium.
Hernán Losada sent out a lineup that could fit into several different formations:
It’s reasonable to think this set of 11 players could line up in a 343, with Andy Najar and Adrien Perez flanking Nigel Robertha, or a 3412 (with Najar underneath the other two). There have been preseason hints of a move to a two-forward formation, and United spent plenty of time last season playing in a 352. With this group, that would see homegrown midfielder Jeremy Garay deep in central midfield, with Najar and Russel Canouse to either side.
Just seems as though in the first 5 minutes, Miami haven’t been able to gain control of the match. DC having a lot of possession, multiple corners, and a close chance already.— Austin Robillard (@AustinRobillard) January 29, 2022
Miami countering well at some points but can’t string together final 3rd passes.
Miami was said to have a response, with Ariel Lassiter getting involved on the right wing:
Lassiter AGIAN with a massive chance created due to his pace down the right side.— Austin Robillard (@AustinRobillard) January 29, 2022
Mo Adams, who’s an absolute work horse, takes the ball off a DC player really well and finds Lassiter who runs into box and just can’t find Robbie at the back.
Mota and Adams very similar.
Very few events were deemed notable by anyone present at the game over the next phase, with Miami reportedly gaining more of a foothold as halftime grew closer:
Miami getting on the ball and retaining possession a lot more here. They’re growing into the game.— Austin Robillard (@AustinRobillard) January 29, 2022
United officially noted that they made a 33rd minute substitution, bringing draft pick Skage Simonsen into the match for Robertha, though it’s unclear how that impacted the formation. Simonsen was a central midfielder throughout his time in college.
33’| Robertha is replaced by Super Draft pick Skage Simonsen.— D.C. United (@dcunited) January 29, 2022
0 - 0
Still, at least one reporter present for the game said United was bossing the proceedings, while Miami tried to be more direct to counter the Black-and-Red:
Sigue dominando el partido DC United.— José Armando (@Jarm21) January 29, 2022
Inter Miami le dira poco la pelota e intenta un juego mucho más directo por los costados.
Hasta ahora, no funciona.
Inter Miami helpfully posted video evidence of the game taking place:
Losada made the traditional preseason line change at halftime, with Simonsen the only player to remain on the field from the side that walked off after 45 minutes:
Subs in at the half:— D.C. United (@dcunited) January 29, 2022
*Loudoun United player
**Super Draft pick
Miami made five subs of their own, and United had a big chance turned away before Jon Kempin — who is believed to be likely to sign a new deal with the club in the near future — had to make his first save of the evening. That set the stage for United to take the lead, with 17-year-old Loudoun United prospect Jackson Hopkins putting the Black-and-Red in front:
Goal for DCU.— Austin Robillard (@AustinRobillard) January 29, 2022
Awesome ball into box down their right side, goes across box on ground to man at back post, cuts inside finds man, beats Diop scrambling.
Good goal for 1-0.
Miami made more substitutions before Kempin reportedly had to deny George Acosta on a direct free kick midway through the half. United had a reply, with Clément Diop having to make multiple saves to stop DCU attacks as the game sounded like it may have been opening up. At some point later in the half, Griffin Yow used a slick cutback to open up a shot for himself after being picked out in transition by fellow homegrown Ted Ku-DiPietro:
United created another shot as they seemed to be creating the bulk of the attacking opportunities, with Deporte Total’s José Armando referring to Losada’s side as playing “like a machine” despite the numerous substitutions:
Inter Miami ha perdido orden en todas sus líneas luego de los cambios.— José Armando (@Jarm21) January 29, 2022
DC United es como una maquina, sigue jugando igual.
Based on reporter accounts of the final minutes, United saw the end of the game out with little drama, earning a victory in their first preseason match. They’ll travel back to the D.C. area on Tuesday, February 1, for a couple of days off before resuming their preseason with three days of training at the club’s new Performance Center. They depart for California on February 7, and their next game will be a clash with the New York Red Bulls in the Coachella Invitational Tournament on February 10 at 7:00pm Eastern.
Highlights will be added when/if they are made available.