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Drums, Flags and Nail-Biting



After a four-home-game protest by supporters groups, the drums, flags and noise were in full bloom Saturday (April 27) as DC United took on the Seattle Sounders at Audi Field. (See photo above.) DC responded with a 2-1 win to bring their season record back to .500 (3 wins, 3 losses, 4 draws) after a 3 game winless streak.


DC had Klich and Herrera back this week (they missed the NYCFC game last week with yellow card accumulation suspensions) but Antley and Ted KDP were still out injured. Bono was in goal, and McVey, Bartlett and Herrera were in defense. Dajome was listed as a 4th defender but played more of a defensive midfield role. Peltola, Klich, Pirani and Stroud were in midfield, and Benteke and Jacob Murrell (our draft pick from Georgetown) were up front. This was Murrell’s first start.


DC fell behind in the 14th minute when Seattle attacked down the right side. Two shots were blocked, but then Jordan Morris on the right side and he crossed to Leo Chu for a goal from the center of the box. Chu beat Herrera to the inside, but in fairness Herrera had someone open at the far post that he also had to keep an eye on.


DC had a slow start but after 15 or 20 minutes began to get more possession and create chances. The key moment of the game occurred in the 28th minute. McVey launched a beautiful ball from midfield that hit Stroud at the top of the box. Stroud controlled beautifully, then passed the ball around Seattle keeper Stephan Frei. Frei got his arm out too late and tripped Stroud. Red card and penalty. VAR upheld it. Benteke put the penalty into the upper left corner, beating substitute goalie Andy Thomas, and the game was knotted at 1-1 with Seattle down to 10 men.


DC took the lead in the 45th minute when Herrera crossed to Benteke at the far post. Benteke buried a high header over Thomas and DC led 2-1 at the half.


Things looked great: a goal up, and a man up at halftime. DC had 9 shots (5 on goal) in the first half, while Seattle had 4 shots (2 on goal). DC had 69% of the half’s possession.


The second half, strangely enough, was all Seattle. DC only managed 3 shots (none on goal) in the second half, while Seattle had 8 shots (3 on goal). Seattle had 55% of the second half possession. But Seattle failed to score, with the help of the post (which stopped a Joao Paulo shot) and Bono (who made 3 second half saves, including a great one in the 88th minute). It looked many times in the half like Seattle had the extra man, instead of DC. But the score stayed 2-1; a nervy win, but still a (badly needed) win.


DC’s second half substitutes were Hopkins for Peltola and Martin Rodriguez for Pirani in the 63rd minute, Santos for Murrell in the 75th minute, and Fletcher for a cramping Dajome in the 90th minute.


In his first MLS start, Murrell had some good offensive chances. He forced a really good save out of Frei before Frei was sent off, and he just missed a bicycle kick. I think he had 4 shots.


The next game is this coming Saturday (May 4) at home against the Philadelphia Union.

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