After a tumultuous week, D.C. United move forward with a 3-2 win over the New England Revolution. New signings Taxi Fountas and Michael Estrada led the way, putting D.C. ahead at the half and securing a lead New England couldn’t surmount.

A Solid Performance, A Solid Result

With interim head coach Chad Ashton at the helm and newly promoted assistant coach Fred Brillant back at Audi Field, D.C. United seeks to turn the page after the sacking of Hernàn Losada. This Saturday they began again with a match against the NE Revolution.

In the 6’ NE Revolution’s Brandon Bye got there first with a ball launched from the outside of the box and tucked it neatly in the lower left-hand corner of the net as Jon Kempin dove a moment too late. The early goal could have been devastating to morale, but D.C. United proved their resilience as the match progressed.

Chris Durkin brought the ball up the left side and lobbed a shot at Brad Knighton, only to have his attempt thwarted. Not to be left out of the fun, Edison Flores found Michael Estrada with an opening on the right side of Knighton’s net. While the shot was saved, it was a wake-up call to the Revs that D.C. was on the hunt for their first goal.

Long-awaited DP, Taxi Fountas, opened his account in the 26’, scoring his first goal in Black-and-Red. He slotted a well-placed cross from Julian Gressel, through traffic to find the back of New England’s net, making good on Durkin and Estrada’s attempts to find D.C. an equalizer. 

Fountas, it turns out, can also manage an excellent assist. His cross found teammate Michael Estrada ready and waiting right in front of New England’s goal. Positioned dangerously, Estrada took advantage of the moment to score with a header in the 39’. D.C. could breathe a sigh of relief, at least for a few minutes,as they took the lead.

Durkin, displaying incredible instinct, found Fountas just on the edge of the box. Although the initial pass ricocheted off New England’s Matt Polster, Fountas was able to take control of the situation and outmaneuver the Rev’s defense to slip another shot past Knighton.

With D.C. up two at the half, the pressure was on New England to find at least enough for an equalizer. It would be a tall order that the visitors couldn’t fulfill, despite their best efforts. 

In their determination to find another goal, New England got physical. Brendan Hines-Ike was downed in the 75’ and training staff were called onto the pitch. Henry Kessler finally found New England’s second of the game in the 86’ off a long-range free kick. Just a moment later his teammate Adam Buska was shown a yellow card after a hard knock to D.C.’s Kempin. Once again, training staff were called to attend to a player.

With eight brutal minutes of stoppage time added, there was still plenty of time for D.C. to be in danger. With the Black-and-Red’s lead reduced to one goal, the pressure would now be on the backline and Jon Kempin to maintain the advantage.

“The one thing we can always control is our effort and our intensity.”

Julian Gressel, D.C. United

The final whistle brought relief to the Black-and-Red side that had been through so much this past week. Julian Gressel spoke to the mindset that carried D.C. United through the match, saying, “The last couple of days, where we’re just, you know, talking about different types of games will be in, in different types of, you know, situations we might be in and, you know, we just talked about… being out there and, and giving it all you know, and I think the one thing we can always control is our effort and our intensity… it was the intensity and the fight and the grit and all that type of stuff that we said, we have to bring it tonight. And we did and ultimately, we grind out the game”

D.C. United will hit the road to take on the Columbus Crew on April 30 at 7:30 pm ET.

Three Takeaways 

  • Welcome to D.C. Taxi Fountas, we hope you enjoy your stay! Designated Player Taxi Fountas started his tenure early, much to the delight of the Black-and-Red supporters. While Fountas made his first appearance in Black-and-Red against Austin FC, he opened his MLS scoring account with not one but two goals against the New England Revolution this Saturday evening. 
  • Jon Kempin looks confident and is showing up big. Kempin has come a long way. The goalkeeper put up a convincing performance in Rochester, shutting out Flower City Union in D.C.’s most recent Open Cup match, making a few very difficult saves in inclement weather. This Saturday, Kempin was solid against New England, letting in only one goal – despite a flurry of attempts by the Revs. When asked by Switch the Pitch how matches leading up to the clash with New England helped him prepare, Kempin said, “I’ll actually go back to the game I had with Loudoun against Louisville the week before. You know, as a backup goalkeeper, you don’t get very many games, right. If you can get game time, and give yourself a little bit more confidence… anytime I can get minutes and kind of gain confidence and kind of see certain situations that obviously helps and coming into this game tonight. We obviously needed to really get a win here. The guys just gave me confidence right now. It’s obviously an MLS game, and I haven’t played it in most games since last year. So, the guys gave me the confidence to go out there and just be myself like I do in training every single day. And, you know, I think they also had my back and I think Chad had my back and the coaching staff, and I just went out there and was myself.”
  • Chad Ashton has a message for D.C. United supporters. Switch the Pitch asked Ashton what supporters could expect and look forward to this season. He said, “I think you know, we’ve still got to kind of find our way and get a full squad complete to be able to choose from but hopefully the fight that you saw tonight, we want to be a team who we know every time we go out there, we’re gonna give everything we have. We want to make the city proud. We want to make the supporters proud and, and I think the guys did that tonight. They laid it all on the line. And we were obviously hanging on for dear life at the end. But guys, were putting their bodies on the line blocking shots. I thought it was phenomenal. And I think you’ll see that every game from us. That’s what I expect to see.”

Box Score

MLS Regular Season – Game 8

D.C. United: 3 Fountas 26’, Estrada 39’, Fountas 43’

NE Revolution: 2 Bye 6’, Buska 86’

Lineups

D.C. United:  (343) Jon Kempin, Brad Smith (Ted Ku-DiPietro 83′), Brendan Hines-Ike, Steven Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Julian Gressel, Russell Canouse, Chris Durkin, Edison Flores, Taxi Fountas (Jackson Hopkins 60′), Michael Estrada (Nigel Robertha 60′ [Tony Alfaro 83′])

NE Revolution:  (4231) Brad Knighton, Andrew Farrell, Omar Gonzalez (Henry Kessler 46′), Matthew Polster, Brandon Bye, DeJuan Jones, Carles Gil, Emmanuel Boateng (Damian Rivera 58′), Sebastian Lletget (Thomas McNamara 75′), Adam Buksa, Justin Rennicks (Jozy Altidore 58′)

Misconduct Summary

D.C. United:  Gressel 33’

NE Revolution: Jones 65’, Buska 87’, Kessler 89’

Graphic Featured Image Source: DC United 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @SarahKallassy

Check us out on Twitter: @SwitchThePitch1 and Instagram: @SwitchThePitch1

By Sarah Kallassy

Editor-In-Chief  Official Reporter: D.C. United 

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