D.C. United's MLS season comes to a close today with a final home match against FC Cincinnati. 2022 was not the Cinderella story this writer was wishing for. Alas, there's always next season.
While today's result won't be decisive for the Black-and-Red in terms of the playoffs or standings, the way the team closes out the season still matters. A final convincing match at home in front of supporters will set the tone for the work to be done throughout the offseason and start laying the foundation for a stronger 2023. At a minimum, though, let's have some fun today.
Unfortunately, today we'll be saying some tough goodbyes.
Dave Johnson, who has spent 27 years behind the mic as D.C. United's play-by-play announcer, will call his final match. As MLS moves to a behemoth streaming deal with Apple TV, local broadcast teams across the nation are saying their farewells. We're hopeful that the Black-and-Red will find a way to keep this legend involved. D.C. United matches just won't be right without him.
Club icon, Bill Hamid, will be honored at halftime. The fan-favorite goalkeeper will likely be hanging up his gloves after this season, at least for D.C. United. Hamid will be in free agency at the end of the season.
We won't see Taxi Fountas on the pitch today. The striker is still in Greece with his family as MLS continues the investigation into the match between D.C. United and Inter Miami.
We will, however, see some homegrown action on the field. Head coach Wayne Rooney is committed to playing the kids today, saying they "deserve to play." We couldn't agree more and look forward to seeing Matai Akinmboni, Kris Fletcher, and Ted Ku-DiPietro in the starting XI.
Rooney said, "we're trying to develop, obviously, for next season, and the young lads have had a few minutes here and there... When they've come up and trained with us, they've done really well. So yeah, it'd be a good experience for the three of them to start together."
FC Cincinnati are looking to punch its ticket to the MLS Cup playoffs with Black-and-Red alum Lucho Acosta leading the charge. Junior Moreno, another former D.C. United player will join Acosta as Cincinnati seeks to fulfill its playoff hopes.
Acosta said, "I have a lot of confidence, and I believe a lot in this team. We are going to continue fighting, and we will go looking for the result that we need."
Hear more from Wayne Rooney before the match:
Challenges: D.C. United is still missing its star striker, Taxi Fountas. The pressure is on to finish a dismal season strong and set the tone for 2023.
Previously: Today will be the eighth meeting between D.C. United and FC Cincinnati. The Black-and-Red are unbeaten against Cincinnati in seven matches.
D.C. United Availability:
Out: Taxi Fountas (administrative), Brendan Hines-Ike (foot), Andy Najar (thigh), Victor Pálsson (thigh), Adrien Perez (foot), Rafael Romo (knee), Brad Smith (knee)
Questionable: Russell Canouse (concussion protocol)
FC Cincinnati Availability:
Out: Kenneth Vermeer (torn pectoral muscle), Beckham Sunderland (concussion protocol)
Location: Audi Field, Washington, DC
Kickoff time: 2:30 pm ET (Note, now at 2:55 pm due to MLS matches starting simultaneously)
Referee: Timothy Ford
Available TV: NBCSWA+, TeleXitos
Available streaming: dcunited.com
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