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Road Draw, Take 3

DC did it again. On the road, against a good opponent, and quite shorthanded this time, they got a 2-2 draw last night (March 23) in St. Louis.


With Pedro Santos, Aaron Herrera and Matti Peltola all out with red cards and international duty, Lesesne came up with an excellent defensive adaptation, which I am still not sure how to label. There were definitely 3 on defense (McVey, Bartlett and Antley) and Stroud and Dajome seemed to be somewhere between defensive backs, defensive midfielders, and midfielders. Klich and Jackson Hopkins were more classic defensive midfielders, and Pirani, Ted KDP and Christian Benteke filled out the midfield/striker section of the lineup. Bono was in goal again.


It was an intense game, with both sides pressing. DC's press let off in the second half, probably due to lack of subs and fatigue.


DC had some early shaky moments but survived them. However, in the 19th minute Joshua Yaro was left unmarked at the top of the penalty area on a corner kick and he put St. Louis up, 1-0. DC responded magnificently, with Stroud crossing to Benteke who nailed a header from 6 yards out. St. Louis goalie Roman Burki made a fantastic save, but he couldn't clear the goal area and Ted KDP alertly ran in and tapped in the rebound. The game was tied again, in less than two minutes.


Later in the half, DC broke St. Louis's press; Klich played a throughball to Stroud, who put a cross on Benteke's head at the far post. Benteke didn't miss this time, making it 2-1, which was the score at halftime.


The pace and lack of available subs began to tell in the second half. Stroud was pounded by St. Louis the whole game, and finally came out around the 68th minute for Jacob Murrell. Unfortunately, while Stroud was receiving treatment, VAR decided that Antley had committed a penalty on the previous play, and Joao Strauss converted to tie the game at 2.


DC continued to play hard but was on the back foot near the end. Bono went down for treatment, and both Pirani and Ted KDP came out for subs (Martin Rodriguez and Mohanad Jeahze) in stoppage time (a whopping 10 minutes, which increased to 14 by the time the final whistle blew). Bono made a great kick save to preserve the draw near the end.


DC ended up with 10 shots (3 on goal) and (strangely) no corner kicks. Hopefully Pirani and Ted will be OK for next week. We play Montreal next Saturday evening (March 30) at Audi Field. Peltola, Santos, and Herrera should all be back. (It looks like both Steve Birnbaum and Russell Canouse will be sidelined with injuries for a bit longer.)


The team continues to play well and with spirit, and the games are fun to watch.

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