D.C. United showed new faces in preseason opener vs. Malmo, and Ben Olsen was pleased
BRADENTON, Fla. — After a winter of upgrades and modifications at each place, one query will badger D.C. United proper as much as the opener in three weeks and absolutely into the spring: Who will rating the targets?
United is agency in its perception that newcomer Darren Mattocks, recognized extra for inciting alternatives together with his pace than ending them, is an enormous a part of the answer. And in the preseason opener Thursday, Mattocks redeemed himself after two misses shortly after halftime by scoring in the 56th minute of a 2-1 loss to Swedish champion Malmo at IMG Academy.
Playing because the lone striker in a midfield-heavy formation, the previous Vancouver and Portland ahead squandered setups by substitute Bruno Miranda 4 minutes aside earlier than amassing Zoltan Stieber’s cross and inserting a 16-yard shot into the low, far nook.
After a flood of substitutions across the 60th minute, a sloppy D.C. unit that included non-roster gamers and a youth academy prospect conceded targets by Carlos Strandberg in the 85th and 87th minutes — a deflating finish to an in any other case first rate outing by the first gamers.
“You don’t care too much about results at this point. It’s more about that first 60-minute group and then some individual evaluations in that second group,” Coach Ben Olsen stated. “Overall, I am very pleased with the first step.”
Despite averaging lower than a purpose per recreation final season — and equaling an MLS report with 17 scoreless performances in 34 matches — United didn’t purchase a outstanding striker this winter. Barring a late transfer, D.C. will put its belief in Mattocks and Patrick Mullins, in addition to, it hopes, a extra vibrant and related midfield.
“There’s more to Darren than he showed today,” Olsen stated. “A whole lot of that has to do with how onerous we’ve been pushing these guys [at training camp in nearby Clearwater]. This recreation was designed for them to play drained, and we consider that’s the way you really get match.
“Darren labored his socks off up so far and it was good for him to get a purpose. We’re going to ask him to threaten again traces extra and maintain up play extra. Overall, he had day.”
The pleasant ended the primary stage of camp in Florida, giving strategy to break day in Washington. United will return to Clearwater on Wednesday for 2 extra friendlies and a visit to Las Vegas for a remaining tuneup in opposition to a second-tier foe. The season opener is March three at Orlando.
Malmo, which has received 4 of the previous 5 Swedish titles and appeared recurrently in the UEFA Champions League, will return house forward of a home cup match Feb. 18.
“What did it look like? It looked like our first time out in preseason against a pretty good opponent,” stated Olsen, who watched the primary half from the sideline and the second alongside General Manager Dave Kasper amid the followers in the grandstands.
Olsen was pleased together with his starters, all of whom performed about 60 minutes, apart from the right-side mixture of Paul Arriola and Nick DeLeon, who had been pre-scheduled to depart at halftime.
Only three starters had been with the membership at coaching camp final winter: DeLeon, defender Kofi Opare and midfielder Ian Harkes. The group included three gamers who joined late final summer season (Arriola, Stieber and goalkeeper Steve Clark) and 5 recent additions. Aside from Mattocks, Ulises Segura (Costa Rica) partnered with Harkes in central midfield, Junior Moreno (Venezuela) performed in defensive midfield, Frederic Brilliant joined Opare in central protection and trialist John Requejo manned the left facet of the again line.
While Requejo and Sheanon Williams face lengthy odds of constructing the squad, fellow exterior again Chris Odoi-Atsem (University of Maryland) appears well-positioned to earn a contract after his choice wasn’t exercised final fall.
Several gamers had been unavailable due to illnesses: Goalkeeper David Ousted (sickness), defenders Steve Birnbaum (minor leg damage) and Taylor Kemp (hernia restoration), and midfielders Russell Canouse (knee sprain) and Luciano Acosta (concussion protocol) are all beginning candidates.
Olsen bought his first have a look at Oniel Fisher, who was acquired in a commerce with Seattle this week. He logged about 30 minutes on the wing. Midfielder Yamil Asad, whose rights had been acquired from Atlanta this week, watched from the grandstands with Acosta; the Argentine duo is anticipated to cost the assault. Final paperwork is delaying Asad’s formal introduction.
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