After Opening Day Win, D.C. United Has Eyes On Result Against NYCFC

On Sunday, with a win over Atlanta United, D.C. United accomplished something that they had not managed since 2015: win a game in the month of March. That year, the Black-and-Red started the MLS season by beating Montreal 1-0 and then finished the month with a 1-0 victory over the LA Galaxy, thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Chris Pontius.

Since that March 28, 2015 triumph, though, United had navigated their first month of the next three seasons sans victory. That streak was up to 12 games, seven losses, and five draws, before Paul Arriola and Luciano Acosta fired the Black-and-Red past Atlanta United for three points at Audi Field.

DMV viewers can watch the DCU-NYCFC game live on FloFC!

Opening day successes or failures don't determine the outcome of the season, but for head coach Ben Olsen, it was good for United to get that first victory out of the way immediately.

"It’s always nice to get the first win," Olsen told media after Tuesday's open practice. "Sometimes it takes a couple of games, because you’re not sure who you are in the first couple of games or first month."

Of course, in 2016 and 2018, United made the playoffs, though they were left scrambling for points in the second half of the season. And both of those teams made significant additions during the summer. Lloyd Sam and Patrick Mullins were the key additions in 2016, while Wayne Rooney and Bill Hamid were big difference-makers last year.

And it seemed like on Sunday night, United quickly found out who they wanted to be in 2019. Olsen reiterated that D.C. caught a little break with Atlanta United maybe more concerned with the upcoming Champions League tie against Monterrey, but that taking advantage of teams trying to figure themselves out might help the Black-and-Red have early success.

"It’s a tricky first month," Olsen said of teams trying to find their identity and getting their fitness right. "Some teams are able to take advantage of it, and we’d like to continue to take advantage of the first four or five games, and see how many points we can get."

This weekend, United get a chance to build upon the Atlanta win by heading to the Big Apple to take on New York City FC. Yankee Stadium has never been kind to the Black-and-Red, but win against the Pigeons would continue to show that United mean business in 2019.

"When we play the Eastern Conference teams, those are our important matches," Arriola said after Tuesday's practice. "If we can go game by game, and have the mentality of each game we have to go out and win, I think we are in good shape."

Kickoff on Sunday is at 3 PM ET, and is the first game that will be broadcast locally in the Washington D.C. area on FloFC.

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DCU's Chris Durkin Looking For A Chance To Showcase At U-20 World Cup

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A year and a half ago, Chris Durkin went with the USA U-17 team to the World Cup in India and appeared in all five games. Durkin had signed with D.C. United in June 2016 but had spent most of his time away from the club, either with the U.S. team or playing games in USL with the Richmond Kickers. It was part of United's plan for the defensive midfielder from the Richmond, Virginia, area. Now, with just a couple of months before this year's U-20 World Cup, Durkin is headed to Spain for the U-20 camp with friendlies against Japan and France.

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Rooney Opens 2019 Account With Hat Trick, Rodriguez Wows With Stunning Goal

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After Saturday night's romp over Real Salt Lake, D.C. United is off to their best start to a league season in a decade. Seven goals scored and zero goals conceded has yielded seven points against Atlanta United, New York City FC, and RSL — all playoff teams from 2018. Wayne Rooney opened his account for the season from the penalty spot, and then didn't stop shooting — and scoring — until he secured his first MLS hat trick in the 5-0 win. 

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Washington, D.C. — Real Salt Lake ended Saturday night's contest against D.C. United with significantly fewer players than they began the game with. Jefferson Savarino was shown a red card for raking Luciano Acosta's face in the first half, and then Marcelo Silva picked up a second yellow for hauling down Lucas Rodriguez in the second half. That made the night easier for the Black-and-Red, as the hosts ran away with a 5-0 victory thanks to a Wayne Rooney hat trick.