WASHINGTON — Following a deflating opening day loss to the Colorado Rapids, D.C. United must define its attacking identity quickly against Inter Miami CF. United welcomes the expansion club to Audi Field Saturday.
“That attacking crew really only has had a game or two to really get in sync,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “We have some work to do in that area, particularly the final third where we are still figuring out our identity once we do win the ball.”
Despite its early lead thanks to a set piece goal from United defender Russell Canouse, United couldn’t maintain possession and conceded two late goals to the Rapids. Off-season acquisitions Edison Flores and Julian Gressel worked well in United’s new pressing style of play, but the team failed to connect in the final third.
“The second half, we were too anxious and didn’t take care of the ball,” Olsen said. “It ended up costing us energy and ultimately too many chances.”
This week, United signed MLS veteran Federico Higuaín and acquired defensive midfielder Mohammed Abu on loan from Vålerenga. Higuaín will help United both on and off the field with his passion for the sport and his experience in Major League Soccer. The Argentinian play-maker is still at least a month away from seeing playing time as he continues to regain fitness after suffering a torn ACL in May 2019. Meanwhile, his impact off the field has already begun.
“On the field, he needs to get available and strong and get that knee where it needs to be to help us on the field as a player, but he is also going to help us as a staff,” Olsen said. “He will hopefully be a big brother to some people, and share his experience and knowledge.”
Defensively, United’s other signing, Abu, will be on the game-day roster against Inter Miami. The Ghanaian international adds depth to United’s defensive efforts. United also extended the contracts of two defensive strongholds, signing Canouse and captain Steve Birnbaum to three-year contracts through 2023.
Inter Miami is coming off a road lost to LAFC. Miami comes to town with two former members of Monterrey in LigaMX with coach Diego Alonso and midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro. Miami has a mix of young talent from South America and MLS veterans. United face the familiar foe of Luis Robles in goal, now a captain for Miami, who spent eight seasons with United’s Atlantic Cup rival New York Red Bulls.
- When: March 7, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
- Broadcast: Univision, TUDN
- Live Stream: Twitter
- D.C. United injury: OUT: Paul Arriola (knee injury), Federico Higuaín (knee injury). Donovan Pines (ankle injury), Chris Seitz (quadricep injury) QUESTIONABLE: Ulises Segura (groin injury)