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DC United to win
Pick made on 08/02/2022 at 6:20 PM EST
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One of the big stories this week was Wayne Rooney’s debut as manager of DC United and he got off to the perfect start with a 2-1 win over Orlando City. Charlotte FC dropped more points to playoff qualification rivals Columbus Crew and now sit in 10th place on the Eastern Conference standings.
The two sides have only had one meeting in the past, which took place earlier this year in February with DC United winning the match 3-0 quite comfortably. It’s not been great for DC United since that match but they’ll be buzzing heading into this one.
The meeting earlier this year was settled in the first half after a brilliant performance from Michael Estrada at home. His first half brace gave DC United some breathing room. The home side defended their lead well, not requiring a lot of possession on the day (46 percent) after getting the lead before cementing the win with a 65th minute goal from Ola Kamara.
DC United were worthy winners on the day, getting five of their 12 shots on target compared to Charlotte FC’s three from eight. This was one of DC United’s better performances in what has been a torrid season.
Take a look who is the top pick for MLS Top Goal Scorer, here!
Whatever positives came out of Charlotte FC’s win over Chelsea on penalties in the club friendly seem to have already fizzled out after drawing 0-0 to Columbus Crew. Despite having 52 percent of the possession in this game, Charlotte FC only managed one shot on goal.
The team has no out and out goal scorer and this is likely to be a problem for the remainder of the season. They’ve got a lower expected goal value in the Eastern Conference than every other side (25.4) and it’s why there’s no guarantee that they’ll win this match.
The two forwards have been responsible for most of the goals scored by Charlotte FC, getting five each but this is simply not enough for a side looking to make the playoffs. At first, it’d be easy to blame the two forwards but they’ve hardly got any service.
Swiderski’s five goals have come from an expected goal value of 4.3 and Shinyaki’s goals have come from 3.9 expected goals. The fact that they’re actually over performing despite only scoring 5 goals this season shows that the lack of creativity is really hurting Charlotte FC. The onus is then quite heavily on the defense, which is a bit unfair on the rest of the side.
It was only a friendly but the game against Chelsea demonstrated that this is a side that can hold on for long periods. They’ve conceded 31 goals this season but have an expected goal against value of 28.3, which isn’t too bad.
The issue here is that even if the team is allowing for lower quality shots, just one has to go in to change the nature of the game. It could be a long range goal or some other bizarre occurrence; hence, their decent defensive record is not getting any praise because of the problems up top. Going forward, they need to fix the creativity issue as it’ll help even everything else out.
Christian Fuchs has to serve a one match ban for a red card in the last match. Adam Armour and Vinicius Mello have been out for most of the season and are expected to return this month.
Chris Durkin and Taxiarchis Fountas were on target to give DC United a memorable debut win under new manager, Wayne Rooney. The goals came in stoppage time, something Rooney was used to in his Manchester United days under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The manner of the win along with the appointment is just what the fans needed in what has been an extremely disappointing campaign for the four time MLS Cup champions. DC United were on a four match run and suddenly see themselves just five points off Charlotte FC. It doesn’t mean much as far as playoff spots are concerned but will give them the belief that there isn’t much between their upcoming opponents.
Wayne Rooney hasn’t been a football manager for long but he seems to warm himself to the fans of the clubs he’s managing pretty quickly. Despite being a star from the age of 16, Rooney stood out from most other stars because of his everyday appearance and workmanlike approach to the game.
His style of play often saw him put the team above himself and we’re starting to see that character in his teams as well. Rooney has suggested many times that man management is his strength and his stint at Derby County along with this debut win suggests that he’s certainly capable of uplifting the spirits of a discontent dressing room. His first task will be to get the fans to like the club again and he couldn’t have asked for a better start.
DC United have a game in hand over most of the other sides around them, which will give them cause for hope even though Rooney isn’t expected to take them to the playoffs. He did take them from the bottom to the playoffs as a player a few seasons ago but that seems a good example as to why managers can’t be expected to work miracles the way players can.
Beating Orlando City, the team against whom Rooney had one of his most iconic MLS moments as a player, will give the side an extra boost. There’s still a long way to go and Rooney will be aware that he has to start by working on that defense. They’ve conceded 44 goals this season even though the stats on FBRef via Statsbomb suggest they should’ve only conceded 33.8 so far.
Rooney can’t show his players these figures but will have to remind them that the team is much better than the table suggests they are.
DC United have got a long list of injuries. Center forward, Adrien Perez, has been out since March with a fractured foot. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid got a finger injury in June. Left-back Brad Smith got a Cruciate Ligament rupture last month.
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|Charlotte FC vs DC United
|Bank of America Stadium, North Carolina
|Wednesday, August 3 at 7 pm EST onwards
|How to watch
|ESPN+, DAZN, FOX 13+, TXA21 and KMPX-29
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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