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Jackson Hopkins goal sees D.C. United open preseason with 1-0 win over Inter Miami

A mix of first-team regulars and Loudoun United players earned the Black-and-Red’s first win of 2022

Michael Alexander / @mikeaphotos / Courtesy of D.C. United

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.

United apparently started well, with Robertha and Perez both identified as having chances to open the scoring:

Miami was said to have a response, with Ariel Lassiter getting involved on the right wing:

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:

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.

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.