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A Thrilling Victory


Last night (March 30) DC broke its 4 game winless streak with a thrilling 1-0 victory over Montreal at Audi Field.


DC started its usual lineup with two exceptions; Antley replaced Santos at left back, and Pirani was also left out. It was Bono in goal; Antley, McVey, Bartlett and Herrera on defense; Peltola and Klich in defensive midfield; and Stroud, Ted KDP, Dajome and Benteke on offense.


Antley played well at left back and made several key defensive plays. The offense was energetic and there were lots of chances. Benteke had an early goal ruled off (rightly) for offside, and his header in the 24th minute was deflected by Montreal keeper Jonathan Sirois and then agonizingly cleared off the line by Montreal defender Corbo. Despite 12 first half shots (including 4 in 10 seconds off a corner kick in the 28th minute: Dajome (blocked), Peltola (blocked), Antley (blocked), and Stroud (shot high)), the first half was scoreless.


Early in the second half, Ted KDP was clipped from behind by Monteal's Joel Waterman on a breakaway. While it was not a clear goal-scoring opportunity, the attempt was reckless and at ankle-level, and Waterman received a red card on the field. However, it was reduced to a yellow by VAR, apparently because there was not enough contact despite the obvious intent. Ted was quite angry and needed to be led away by his teammates.


Jackson Hopkins came in for Peltola (who was not his sharpest in this game) in the 62nd minute, and Santos and Pirani came in for Antley and Dajome in the 74th minute. Montreal had a good chance that Herrera cleared off the line; he had a strong game.


DC continued to press and shoot, but the goal just wouldn't come. Benteke hit the lower left post in the 82nd minute. Fletcher came on for Stroud in the 84th minute.


Right after Fletcher's entry to the game, the goal everyone had anxiously been hoping for finally arrived. Benteke headed the ball into the middle of the goal area, and the clearance was not good. Santos rushed in and stung the ball into the net from 17 yards out. The stadium (needless to say) erupted.


DC held on through the end of regulation and 7 minutes (expanded to 8+ due to an injury) of stoppage time. It was a long wait, but a thrilling finish and the DC faithful went home with smiles on their faces.


DC ended up with 22 shots for the game and 9 corner kicks. Some day I may delve into the new "expected goals" statistic (which I'm sure Lesesne and the DC staff are well aware of; we rank 1st in the league in expected goals at the moment), but you don't need statistics to know that the more you shoot, the more likely you are to score.


The South Stand was relatively quiet again (no drums, 3rd of a 4 game protest for the preseason trip to Saudi Arabia), but first the team, and then Lesesne, came over to acknowledge the supporters section after the game. As part of the season ticket renewal package, there is a card from Lesesne saying (among other things) "One of the priorities is to build a stronger connection with our fan base", and he and the team certainly did their part last night. The obvious hard work and improved quality and watchability of this year's team helps as well.


Our 4th home game will be against Orlando on April 13, and the 5th one against Seattle on April 27. The drums and noise should be back for the Seattle game.


First, though, we are back on the road again, playing in Columbus (the defending MLS Cup champs) next Saturday (April 6) at 730pm.


One final note, for Dave Johnson fans: DC made a deal with him earlier this week, and he will be on the radio broadcasting games with Bruce Murray for the rest of the year. Catch him on 1190 AM, 104.7 FM, 101.1 HD2 (I believe that is an option on some cars, it's a new one on me) and the iHeartRadio App.


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