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D.C. United fall to New England 0-1, but Rooney’s rebuild shows promise

Carles Gil scored the game-winner for the Revs in the 18’ to send D.C. away empty handed.

MLS: D.C. United at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arena celebrated his 100th regular season MLS match as manager of the New England Revolution with a 1-0 win over D.C. United - the very first MLS team he managed (1996-1998).

Carles Gil, one of the Revs’ leading goal-scorers, delivered the game-winner early in the match. Despite all efforts by the Black-and-Red, Wayne Rooney’s men would leave Foxborough empty-handed.

D.C. United hasn’t seen a win at Gillette Stadium in years. Before tonight, New England Revolution has gone unbeaten against the Black-and-Red for 11 consecutive matches. The Revs’ win tonight marked the twelfth successive match they’ve managed to keep D.C. from three points.

Optimism was the name of the game early in the second half. Newcomer Ravel Morrison fired a rocket from outside the box in the 5’, capitalizing on good service from Sami Guediri. The shot was on target, but Djordje Petrovic thwarted the attempt.

The Black-and-Red would continue seeking chances, but the Revolution took to heart the early warning issued by Morrison and quickly got on the front foot. New England’s attack rapidly fired off shots in hopes of forcing an early concession from D.C. United. Justin Rennicks, Wilfrid Kaptoum, and Emmanuel Boateng tried to find the back of D.C. United’s net.

Guediri found D.C. United captain Steve Birnbaum with a through ball. Unfortunately, Birnbaum’s signature header wouldn’t help the Black-and-Red make the board; the flag was up. Birnbaum, however, was not up. For a few brief moments, it looked as though a hard knock to the face might have injured the captain.

Minutes later, Thomas McNamara would make a run that Morrison just couldn’t get ahead of. McNamara found Brandon Bye with a chip, and Bye was able to locate a dangerously placed Carles Gil. The stage was set. Gil slotted home the game-winner in the 18’.

Where Gil was a danger to D.C.’s defense, Petrovic was lethal to the Black-and-Red’s attack. He easily neutralized D.C.’s best chances at making a comeback - a long shot from Ola Kamara and a center goal attempt by Taxi Fountas in the 80’.

Rafael Romo and the post spared the Black-and-Red a further deficit. Carles Gil could have doubled the Revs’ lead if it weren’t for that pesky post in the 71’. Stoppage time couldn’t save D.C. tonight. It’s on to the next challenge.

Get your coffee ready, D.C. United will travel to meet LAFC on Tuesday, August 16, at 10:30 pm ET.

Three Takeaways

  • Victor Pálsson made his Black-and-Red debut. Victor Pálsson has unfinished business in MLS. “My time at Red Bulls wasn’t a success... I’ve always had this, you know thing where I have an unfinished thing in the league if you could say like that. So I’ve always had in my mind that I wanted to come back and play in the MLS...I’m hungry.” Tonight’s showing against New England showed a Pálsson that isn’t afraid to step up and get in the thick of things. We’re looking forward to seeing what the future brings him at D.C. United.
  • Taxi was missed on the field. Fountas was away much of the week at MLS All-Star and began tonight’s match on the bench. D.C. United sorely missed his effervescent style of play and fearlessness in finding space for the first 60 minutes of tonight’s match. Coach Wayne Rooney said, “Normally, he’d play. We’ve prepared all week for this game, and obviously, he’s been away all week, and he didn’t join us again until Friday. So that was the reason, obviously, he was on the bench. In normal circumstances, he will start the game, and he’ll start on Tuesday.”
  • D.C. needs to find an edge. Wayne Rooney has repeatedly stated that he wants players to be more aggressive and take more initiative in the attack. Unfortunately, tonight was another example of the Black-and-Red being too passive to get the job done. Of tonight’s performance, he said, “Really, we weren’t brave enough on the ball. I want us to try to play a little bit more than try and pin them in their half and playing in their half.”

Box Score

MLS Regular Season - Game 24

New England Revolution: 1 Carles Gil 18’


New England Revolution: (4-3-2-1) Djordje Petrovic, Henry Kessler, Andrew Farrell, DeJuan Jones, Brandon Bye, Emmanuel Boateng (Omar González 88’), Damian Rivera (Noel Buck 63’), Wilfrid Kaptoum, Justin Rennicks (Christian Makoun 79’), Thomas McNamara, Carles Gil

D.C. United: (4-3-3) Rafael Romo, Sami Guediri (Kimarni Smith 46’), Tony Alfaro, Steve Birnbaum, Andy Najar (Ted Ku-DiPietro 83’), Chris Durkin, Victor Pálsson, Ravel Morrison, Miguel Berry (Jackson Hopkins 72’), Martín Rodríguez (Sofiane Djeffal 72’), Ola Kamara (Taxi Fountas 59’)

Misconduct Summary

D.C. United: Pálsson 81’, Hopkins 84’