We’ve been waiting for this one.
D.C. United are set to take on the Colorado Rapids at Audi Field on Sunday, and all indicators point to this match being Christian Benteke’s home debut.
D.C.’s new number 9 made his MLS debut on Wednesday, helping the Black-and-Red secure a 2-1 victory over reigning MLS Champions New York City FC. After the match, the 31-year-old striker spoke on the importance of making a strong start for his new club. Three more points in his home debut would do just that.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage on NBC Sports Washington, TeleXitos (ES), dcunited.com and ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m.
Last Time Out
D.C. United will be carrying some momentum heading into Sunday’s match.
In what Wayne Rooney described as the “the best performance” since his arrival in July, the Black-and-Red picked up three road points against NYCFC on Wednesday.
Chris Durkin connected with Ola Kamara for the second match in a row to open the scoring at Red Bull Arena— a much-deserved reward for a great start to the match. But NYCFC would equalize soon after that, leaving things level at halftime.
D.C. kept pressing, however, and in the 57th minute it was the captain Steven Birnbaum who powered home a header off a Martín Rodríguez freekick.
Wayne Rooney went to his bench to help see out the win, bringing Christian Benteke and Kristian Fletcher on for their D.C. United debuts.
It was a step in the right direction, Rooney said in his post-match press conference. “The work ethic was there for 90 minutes, which in other games we’ve had good moments and then we’ve switched off. I thought tonight was very good. I thought we always looked a threat.”
With just six matches left, the work for next season has already begun, Rooney explained. “You’re looking to next season also, but the next game is so important. We want to try to build a mentality in the team.”
The Rapids have struggled in recent weeks, falling 4-1 to Nashville SC in their latest outing.
Colorado started on the front foot, with Gyasi Zardes scoring his 8th goal of the season to bring things level in the first half.
But in the end, the Rapids defense failed to find solutions for Hany Mukhtar and the Nashville attack. Colorado have conceded 10 goals in their last two away matches and 21 since the start of August. D.C. United will look to exploit that with its new attacking fire power coming into their own.
They’ll have to do so without All-Star midfielder Taxi Fountas, who remains in concussion protocol after being forced off early in Atlanta.
Rooney said he was also pleased with the performance of forwards Miguel Berry and Ola Kamara on Wednesday night.
“We’ve got options in the attacking area,” Rooney said. “As a coach you want to have to make tough decisions.”
Whatever the lineup may be, the impetus will lie primarily on putting together a strong performance defensively. If the Black-and-Red can do that, the goals on the other end will hopefully follow.
In the Concourse
September 1 marked the start of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the club is excited to do its part by supporting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
The Black-and-Red will also be wearing “Kick Childhood Cancer” Pre-Match Tops. Purchase yours to support the Children’s Oncology Group!
D.C. United is also excited to introduce Scan and Pay, making it even easier to purchase concessions at Audi Field. Make sure to download the D.C. United app and watch this quick tutorial on how it works.