D.C. United closed the preseason with a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Saturday. If only it were that straight-forward. Read my match account for details about Dwayne De Rosario‘s red card, the possibility of a suspension, the general sour mood of the match, and the intensifying I-95 rivalry.
DeRo converted a first-half penalty kick after Lionard Pajoy was upended by Zac MacMath on a breakaway. Pajoy spoiled two other opportunities, set up wonderfully by Perry Kitchen and Dejan Jakovic, before finishing trialist Marcos Sanchez‘s cross midway through the second half.
DCU lineup: Hamid; Korb (Riley 46th), Jakovic, McDonald, Woolard; DeLeon (Porter 83rd), Kitchen, Thorrington (Saragosa 46th), Pontius (Neal 87th); De Rosario (Sanchez 59th), Pajoy (Rafael 77th).
The starting lineup today seemed pretty close to the starting lineup for next Saturday’s league opener at Houston. Ben Olsen will have to choose between Chris Korb and James Riley at right back and John Thorrington and Marcelo Saragosa to accompany Kitchen, who was my man of the match Saturday.
“I think we’re in pretty good shape,” Jakovic said. “We’ve been starting games a little slow, which, in the season, it can cost us. We’ve got to start off strong. In the second half, we settled down, kept possession and created chances.”
United jetted home Saturday night and will train in Washington this coming week before heading to Texas for a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).
Notes: With Carlos Ruiz in the mix and inheriting his usual No. 20, Indonesian midfielder Syamsir Alam will now wear No. 6. … Goalkeepers coach Preston Burpo was in Charleston, S.C., to scout the Dynamo, which lost to the third-tier Battery, 2-1. … Decisions about the players headed to third-division Richmond for the season will be finalized soon. They would join the Kickers around March 15. Three former University of Maryland players are prime candidates: defenders Ethan White and Taylor Kemp and forward Casey Townsend. … United finished preseason with a 2-2-3 record. … The Montreal Impact won the Disney title with a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew on Justin Mapp‘s 54th-minute goal. … United is expected to finalize a deal for Canadian midfielder Kyle Porter. … If the club reaches a deal to acquire Sanchez from Panamanian club Tauro, he would have to await a work visa in Panama. One or two minor moves might also be in the works. …. With the arrival of Ruiz, Honduran attacker Walter Martinez was cut.