D.C. United Opens 2019 Season with 2-0 Shutout Over Atlanta United FC

D.C. United kicked off their 2019 season the best way possible by shutting out the defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United FC 2-0 on Sunday night at Audi Field. A cold, rainy and soaking night couldn’t stop even the most passionate D.C. United supporters from cheering their club on to a huge win.

“Great energy fromt from the crowd as always,” said D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen. “It’s not an easy night to come here and sit through a game… Hopefully we sent them home happy.”

It took almost the whole first half but someone finally broke through in the first minute of stoppage time. On the corner kick, Paul Arriola was at the right place at the right time. Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta each picked up assists on the goal.

“I think we performed really well. I think a lot gets made about the preseason… The important thing for us was the fitness work which we can improve on from last year in the start of the season,” said Rooney.

“We worked hard all preseason and fitness levels were good. Once you’re back here at Audi Field, the crowd behind you, we put performances in… We responded really well tonight.”

In the second half in the 58th minute, D.C. United doubled their lead to 2-0 with a goal from Luciano Acosta assisted by Lucas Rodriguez, the latter making his Black and Red and MLS debut.

“I was calm. Started off calm and it’s an important game against the former champions, current champions. We had to prepare responsibly and be responsible on the field from the beginning. It was or first big test and I was happy to score,” said Acosta.

As for scoring on a wet field, it is quite the challenge. Just ask Acosta.

“Obviously I knew it (the field) was slippery and it was wet out there,” added Acosta. “We tested it a couple times before and I hadn’t gotten the ball many times or stopped it… We rebounded it so I just hit it like I needed to and luckily it went in.”

An interesting fact, the last time D.C. United opened the season against the defending MLS Cup champions was in 2004 when they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1. That went on to be the last season D.C. United won the MLS Cup, something they’re hoping to accomplish in 2019. It was also Freddy Adu’s debut. Remember him? He signed with D.C. United at age 14.

This is the first time since 2015 that D.C. United has started the season on the right foot with a win. The club is now 5-2 all-time vs. Atlanta United, a club that came into existence in the 2017 season and plays their home games at the same stadium as the NFL’s Falcons.

“I’m pleased with the overall performance. I was happy with how we started and the timing of the goals were big,’ Olsen said.

“It was a mature performance from us but you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt with the schedule they have. In this league, teams need to take advantage of that and I think we did that for the most part tonight.”

D.C. United will head to the Bronx this weekend for a game against NYCFC on Sunday at 3 p.m. The game will be on FloFC.

Top photo: @MLS

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