D.C. United and Charlotte FC haven’t met since February’s season opener, but tonight that scoreline was flipped in the Queen City, with Charlotte FC winning 3-0.
Charlotte made moves early in the match, taking advantage of space in D.C.’s defensive half. In the 11’, Yordy Reyna was as much of a problem for the Black-and-Red as we foresaw, finding his way easily through his previous team’s defense. He had a good look on goal, firing off a shot on his first touch. Rafael Romo was quicker, blocking the shot with his right foot, but D.C. was certainly put on notice.
Unfortunately, just a minute later, an own goal would give Charlotte the early advantage. A chaotic moment in the 13’ saw the ball ricochet off Steve Birnbaum and into D.C.’s goal.
The Black-and-Red had plenty of decent turnovers but couldn’t put enough of a collective foot on the gas to raise the tempo and create a convincing chance during the first half. However, Rafael Romo made several difficult saves in the first half that kept D.C. from a further deficit.
Going into the second half, Wayne Rooney wanted the team to be more aggressive in the final third and be less hesitant. He said, “we weren’t aggressive enough first half. We had some control of the game first half, but we weren’t aggressive in terms of getting up to the ball, and we lag fairly quickly and weren’t positive enough when we had the ball.”
Jackson Hopkin began the half on a high note with a clean cross to Ola Kamara in the 48’. However, while Kamara fired off a good shot, his attempt was blocked. Martín Rodríguez and Steve Birnbaum followed up with their own attempts in the 49’ but were denied.
Karol Swiderski found Charlotte’s second chance in the 64’, rebounding a blocked attempt by Yordy Reyna to slide the ball past Romo.
Charlotte wouldn’t let up, taking D.C. to task as the second half continued. Quinn McNeill dropped in at the top of the 6-yard box to score number three in the 67’. An assist by McKenzie Gaines set him up nicely after Romo blocked Swiderski’s attempt.
In the end, D.C. couldn’t make a comeback to turn the tables on a Charlotte team that is now second in the league for home victories this season.
D.C. United returns home to face rival New York Red Bulls on Saturday, August 6, at 7:30 pm ET.
- Early concessions are still an issue for D.C. United. Tonight’s early concession was plain bad luck, but the Black-and-Red have been letting in far too many goals before the 10 and 15-minute mark. These early goals almost always come with a hit to D.C.’s confidence. We are hoping this trend will be broken soon.
- Clinical finishing and fitness need work. Especially in the final third. D.C. United had several good looks that they just struggled to finish tonight. Head coach Wayne Rooney has again cited fitness as something that needs work so players can go a full 90’ without being gassed.
- Will D.C. get a deal done before the transfer window closes? Rooney said, “we’ve been working very hard over the last weekend. I think potentially we could have someone in by tomorrow evening.” We’ll wait to see if D.C. makes the deadline and who might be joining the Black-and-Red.
MLS Regular Season - Game 22
Charlotte FC: 3 Birnbaum 13’ OG, Swiderski 64’, McNeill 67’
Charlotte FC (4-4-2): Kristijan Kahlina, Harrison Afful, Guzmán Corujo, Joseph Mora, Anton Walkes, Quinn McNeill (Derrick Jones 78’), Brandt Bronico, Yordy Reyna (Andre Shinyashiki 71’), Benjamin Bender (Jordy Alcívar 84’), McKenzie Gaines, Karol Swiderski (Daniel Rios 84’)
D.C. United (4-3-3): Rafael Romo, Brenden Hines-Ike (Tony Alfaro 54’), Steve Birnbaum, Sami Guediri, Chris Odoi-Atsem (Andy Najar 54’), Russell Canouse (Miguel Berry 71’), Chris Durkin, Jackson Hopkins, Ravel Morrison (Sofiane Djeffal 71’), Taxi Fountas (Martín Rodríguez 46’), Ola Kamara
D.C. United: Canouse 27’