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Short-handed Suffering Continues

DC United traveled to Charlotte this past Saturday (June 15), but a goal on a corner kick cost them a chance to get a road draw, and they lost 1-0.


DC’s defense is threadbare right now. Conner Antley, who was great earlier in the season, is out for the year with an ACL injury. Christopher McVey, a stalwart in central defense, has a strained knee ligament and may not be back before the Leagues Cup. Steve Birnbaum reinjured his knee last week and is out for an indefinite period. Jackson Hopkins had a lower back problem, and Aaron Herrera was suited up but did not play due to a foot problem.  


DC started Bono in goal; Matai Akinmboni (called back from loan), Bartlett and Garrison Tubbs on the defensive line; Santos, Peltola, Klich, Dajome and Stroud in midfield; and Murrell and Benteke at forward.


DC only had 6 subs on their bench. One was Herrera (who as I said did not play) and two were goalkeepers (Tyler Miller and Jason Crockford). The other 3 entered the game in the second half (Fletcher for Murrell in the 62nd minute, Rodriguez for Akinmboni in the 71st minute, and Ted KDP for Peltola in the 80th minute).


The game was not particularly exciting for the first 30 minutes. The heat may have had something to do with it; there were cooling breaks in both halves.  DC players rubbed bags of ice on their heads and necks during the breaks.


Charlotte attacked hard after first half cooling break. DC was lucky not to concede after an errant back pass in the 39th minute, but Patrick Agyemang missed wide. It looked like it would be scoreless at the half, but Charlotte got a corner kick late in stoppage time. On the first attempt Andrew Privett was carded for hitting Klich in the face, as Bono caught the kick. The foul was ruled to have happened before the start of the kick, so Charlotte got a second chance. Kerwin Vargas was somehow unmarked in the middle of a sea of DC players and buried a header. If the foul had not been called, there would have been no goal, so DC was hurt by the foul call. Ironic. So it was 1-0 Charlotte at the half.


Charlotte still had momentum early in the second half. Santos went down at one point with what looked like a right ankle injury. He was almost subbed out but waved it off and played the rest of the game, and his play seemed unaffected.  


Stroud had a good chance in the 62nd minute but missed wide. DC had a brief spell of pressure after the second half cooling break, but no significant chances. The game ended 1-0 Charlotte.  


DC had a slight possession edge (52.5%) but only 6 shots (1 on goal) and 5 corner kicks. Charlotte missed some good chances, but their defense is tied for the fewest goals given up so far in MLS, and it showed.  


DC has two home games this coming week: Atlanta on Wednesday night (June 19) and Houston on Saturday night (June 22; former player and coach Ben Olsen now coaches Houston). Hopefully the home field will improve the results; DC is now winless in their last 6 games.

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