D.C. United and CF Montreal (formerly Montreal Impact) haven’t met in almost a year. The last time around, the Black-and-Red won 2-1, with goals by Ola Kamara and Andy Najar securing all three points. Tonight, the tables were turned as the Bleu-Blanc-Noir left the District with three points in their carry on. Their hero this evening, Romell Quioto.
Montreal has been in fine form, beating Toronto at home just this past week, 1-0. It’s the third win in their past five matches. The Black-and-Red, meanwhile, have only managed to win one. While the Bleu-Blanc-Noir were looking for another shutout, D.C. had other plans.
Within a minute of the starting whistle, Montreal had already made it onto the scoreboard, with Romell Quioto levying a shot from the left side of the box. It looked as though his attempt would be thwarted when Rafael Romo and D.C. United’s defense first denied him a clean shot at the center of the box. Quioto managed to take a left footed shot at a tough angle that sliced cleanly into the right side of the net.
Montreal continued to play dangerously throughout the first half, pressing D.C. and easily surpassing their back line. The Black-and-Red did manage to find their way into the 6 but were soundly denied by Mason Toye and a tough Montreal defense. Miguel Berry had a decent chance to get one back on Montreal, however, he never made it past James Pantemis. D.C. United did well building out of the back just before the 30’, but it wasn’t enough to find the back of Montreal’s net.
The speed of Montreal’s attack created danger for D.C. all night as the visitors were able to get the drop on the Black-and-Red over and over with lightning-fast turnovers. In the 35’, Quioto took advantage of one of these quick turnovers to snatch a good through ball from Joel Waterman and take a run - virtually unimpeded- right through the center of the box.
With Romo out of goal, Gaoussou Samake did his best to run Quioto down and cut him off before he could get a good touch on the ball. Samake wasn’t able to quelch Quioto’s attempt and he notched a brace with a clean shot, right in front of the net. The Black-and-Red would close out the first half trailing Montreal, 0-2.
Miguel Berry gave the Black-and-Red hope early in the second half, with a great run into Montreal’s defensive half. He was able to loft a good ball in the 51’ that looked as if it would clear Pantemis and find the net, however, Montreal’s goalkeeper was just quick enough to read Berry’s attempt and make the save.
Pantemis wasn’t quick enough, however, to deny a precision header from Steven Birnbaum in the 56’. D.C.’s captain took advantage of a set piece situation and stellar service by Jackson Hopkins to keep hope alive for a comeback in the second half.
Kimarni Smith had a good look at Montreal’s goal late in the second half, but his shot went wide and to the right. It’s a shame too because Smith worked hard, weaving through a tough Montreal defense to get into position for the attempt. As the second half dragged on, D.C. United became more impatient with their play, continuing to make critical mistakes that stymied their chances.
Martín Rodríguez made his debut for the Black-and-Red in the 63’, donning number 77. Rodríguez displayed good vision, even as a new addition to the team. Ola Kamara replaced Miguel Berry in the 73’, presumably in an effort by interim head coach Chad Ashton to bolster the attack, but he wasn’t able to turn the tide against Montreal, even with an additional five minutes of stoppage time. The scoreline would remain, 1-2.
- Play your kids. Yes, it was kid’s night at Audi Field, but that’s not what we mean. Jackson Hopkins made an impact tonight, displaying great physicality and hunger on the field, taking his role so seriously that he earned himself a yellow card for a challenge late in the first half. When Black and Red United asked Hopkins about the challenge, he said, “Wayne talked about mentality all week and showed us some clips from Minnesota where we were losing losing this kind of challenge. So I think everyone was focused on trying to win those.”
- Growing pains are costing the Black-and-Red big, but necessary for the long haul. Constant changes as a result of new players joining the team, rotating rosters, and evolving lineups are creating challenges for the team and strain is showing. Interim head coach Chad Ashton said, “For everybody competition is going to be constant. So it’ll be in every training session and I hopefully will bring out the best in everybody and again, hopefully we’ll make everybody a little hungrier that on game day when we step out there that that we’re you know, ready to go right from the start. We need to put together a complete game”.
- Still waiting for Wayne Rooney to officially take charge. The Black-and-Red are still waiting for their new manager to take over, although interim head coach Chad Ashton and coaching staff are already implementing elements of Rooney’s system. The players are ready for their new coach. Jackson Hopkins said, “I really feel like there’s no one better I can learn from. I’m thinking one of the luckiest 18 year olds in the world right now.”
MLS Regular Season - Game 20
D.C. United: 1 Birnbaum 56’
CF Montreal: 2 Romell Quioto (1’ and 35’)
D.C. United (4-2-3-1): Rafael Romo, Steve Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Gaoussou Samake (Martín Rodríguez 63’), Chris Durkin, Taxi Fountas, Sofiane Djeffal, Drew Skundrich (Chris Odoi-Atsem 46’), Miguel Berry (Ola Kamara 77’), Ted Ku-DiPietro (Andy Najar 63’), Jackson Hopkins (Kimarni Smith 73’)
CF Montreal (3-4-1-2): James Pantemis, Rudy Camacho, Gabriele Corbo, Joel Waterman, Ismael Koné (Robert Ori Thorkelsson 90’ +2’), Victor Wanyama, Djordje Mihailovic (Matko Miljevic 63’), Lassi Lappalainen (Mathieu Choinière 63’), Alistair Johnston, Romell Quioto (Joaquín Torres 74’), Mason Toye (Kei Kamara 63;)
D.C. United: Hopkins 45’ + 3’, Odoi-Atsem 49’, Birnbaum 81’
CF Montreal: Corbo 5’, Johnston 55’