D.C. United put together their first back-to-back wins this season by defeating New York City FC 2-1 at home.
“Historically it has taken a while for us to put together back-to-back wins together,” head coach Ben Olsen said. “We want to keep it going.”
Last season, D.C. United did not put together a winning streak until late September before going on a four-game multi-goal winning streak.
Putting a streak together is crucial for United as they prepare to hit the road for the next three weeks. United starts the road trip in rival territory against forward Lloyd Sam’s former team: the New York Red Bulls.
“This league, you know how hard it is going on the road,” Sam said. “That is why this game was even more important to get the win.”
Using the pain of their “embarrassing” loss less than a month ago to NYCFC, United put together a strong final 20 minutes in the first half before making halftime adjustments and coming back out to score twice.
“That was a painful result,” Sam said about the last time the two teams met. “Whenever you play a team and get beat like that and embarrassed a bit, you always remember it.”
Usually, poor RFK field conditions are something to complain about, but in the 53rd minute of Saturday’s match, Sam took advantage of the less than ideal conditions. With a miscommunication in NYCFC’s defense, Sam took a shot from inside the 18-yard box. The shot wasn’t extremely powerful, but it took a lucky bounce over goalkeeper Sean Johnson and into the back of the net.
“I thought, ‘let me just run this down and see what happens,’ and thank God we’ve have a bumpy field,” Sam said. “We weren’t necessarily generating so much, like creating chances. So sometimes you have to try to make things happen in other ways.”
United didn’t take many chances on goal against NYCFC, but found a way to put together a win despite the fact that NYCFC’s David Villa scored his seventh goal against United in the past seven games.
Twenty minutes later, forward Luciano Acosta notched the game-winner, cleaning up the rebound from Sam’s earlier shot. The win was a complete team effort, including a younger United midfield as Jared Jeffrey stepped in for the suspended Marcelo Sarvas.
“You know me. I like a real group effort,” Olsen said. “Everyone played a part in this. Everyone played up to their standard and gave everything they had.”
With their next New York matchup less than a week away—this time against the Red Bulls—United must put up the same fight in order to put together a strong, early streak, Sam said. Despite the fact that the hype of his transfer to rivals D.C. United died down, Sam said he is looking forward to the opportunity of putting up a goal against his former team in his former city.
“I think that has died down a little bit by now,” Sam said. “It will be good if I can get a goal down there. It will be interesting. We will see what kind of reaction I get after that.
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