D.C. United’s defense strengthened, holding the attackers to a draw against the Red Bulls

D.C. United’s defense strengthened, holding the attackers to a draw against the Red Bulls

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Opinion

D.C. United have brought good vibes to Audi Field through high-profile recruitment and a number of late signings. celebrity (Wayne Rooney) The Premier League striker is on the move (Christian Benteke) is on the way, and potential starting goalkeeper (David Ochoa) is approaching its prime time.

Although the MLS playoffs are just around the corner, the trick now is to speed things up.

Despite United’s first defensive shutout in three months in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with the New York Red Bulls, they did not have high-quality chances before the 16,258 announced at Buzzard Point.

Rooney saluted his defense as he looked to further steps in his team’s form.

“We have to be better defensively going forward,” he said. “It’s a real positive.”

New York had 13 shots but only one goal. D.C.’s defense blocked seven attempts and kept goalkeeper Rafael Romo out of harm’s way.

United were sharp after scoring the first goals in six of their last eight games. Even with a makeshift backline that included sophomore forward Kimarni Smith at left back, DC made well-timed tackles and they worked well together.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a zero,” said centre-back captain Steven Birnbaum. “It was weighing on us, and it was weighing on me.”

After a promising start, however, the attack never got going. The Red Bulls (10-7-7) have conceded 13 goals in their last three games, including a U.S. Open semifinal in Orlando. United (6-13-4) also faces a vulnerable opponent in Charlotte on Wednesday. But he could not scoreAnd now he has gone without a goal in four of the last seven games.

United had four shots on Saturday, two of which were on target. Rooney has cited a lack of creativity in the final third of the pitch, but DC’s issues have to do with developing chemistry.

Three of the six new signings started on Saturday: striker Miguel Berry, midfielder Ravel Morrison and winger Martin Rodriguez. Benteke and defensive midfielder Viktor Palsson are awaiting work visas while Ochoa is working on fitness.

While waiting for a full squad, Rooney is implementing the system, begging for a quicker game and raising his work rate.

“I’ve seen some improvement,” starting midfielder Sofiane Jefal said. “Intellectual-wise, it’s better. We have 11, 15, 20 fighters. … we are learning a new form. We are learning a new way of playing,” he said.

In the first half, it was not only scoring chances but also being stopped due to injuries. United lost starting midfielder Jackson Hopkins in the 41st minute with a knee injury. First, he came out of Wednesday’s game with a groin strain and was replaced by the team’s leading scorer, Taxi Fauntas.

The first real threat came in the 62nd minute when New York’s Patrick Klimala’s corner bid went wide of the far corner.

Rooney made three changes in the 77th minute as his team failed to create any scoring chances. Once again, United were disbanded.

“We’re trying to put together a really good team,” Rooney said. “We have brought in very good players. I think we’ll have a good team once we get everyone in and qualify and get on the field. And then we want to move forward. We don’t just focus on this season. We will focus on next season and beyond.

Here’s what else you need to know about his United counterpart.

Hines-Ike wants a second opinion

United have yet to announce the diagnosis and prognosis of defender Brendan Hines-Ike, who suffered a foot injury on Wednesday. He’ll need a second opinion but will likely miss the rest of the season. Hines-Ike has started 20 matches. …

Forwards Michael Estrada (four goals and four assists) and Nigel Roberta (one and three) were left off the game day roster for the fourth consecutive game. Neither was injured.

Estrada, an Ecuadorian on loan from Toluca in Mexico, rejected the proposed trade, according to people familiar with the situation. He said that if he finds a foreign suitor, he and United will cancel the contract. He needs game time to strengthen his case to make Ecuador’s World Cup roster. …

Fullback Chris Odoi-Assem, who has started the last two matches, is unavailable after undergoing health and safety protocols.

Benteke eyeing August 20 first

Benteke, who signed with United this week from Crystal Palace, is likely to make his MLS debut on Aug. 20 when they visit the Philadelphia Union, team officials said.

The forward is scheduled to move to the D.C. area next week to settle in with his new teammates and coaches.

Saturday marked the 99th meeting between the MLS founding members (regular season and playoffs) and the annual Atlantic Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the regular season series. The Red Bulls won the crown.

Falls with back spasms aside, Red Bulls He won the first regular season 4-1On May 28 in Harrison, NJ, the teams met on May 10 in the US Open Cup. The Red Bulls won 3-0in Washington.

A busy calendar continues.

United wrapped up three matches in seven days on Saturday and now have a week to prepare for three in eight days: in New England next Saturday, MLS Cup favorites Los Angeles FC on August 16 and at home four days later vs. Cup contender Philadelphia.

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