DC United

The first penalty kick session at Audi Field was completely bonkers

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The first penalty kick session at Audi Field was completely bonkers

For a relatively subdued start to the first postseason match in Audi Field's history, the ending was nothing short of incredible. 

D.C. United and the Columbus Crew went to penalties in the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. While the Crew escaped a sellout, raucous crowd in Southeast D.C. 2-2 (3-2), it was not without some crazy whiffs, bounces and poor shots. 

First up was Columbus' Federico Higuain, who had scored the only two goals for the Crew in the match. Standing in front of the supporters' end of the field he burried it.

United's new poster boy Wayne Rooney was next. Coming into this setting he was 3-for-3 in penalty kicks since joining the club.

Taking his patented stutter-step run-up, Rooney chose Zack Steffen's right and got blocked. 

1-0 Columbus. 

The Crew's Wil Trapp and United's Yamil Asad both converted on their opportunities.

2-1 Columbus.

Then, Bill Hamid kept the Crew off the board for the first time, giving Zoltan Stieber a chance to level it.

He did with a rocket that Steffen had no chance with. 

Eventually it gets to 3-2 Columbus, with the Crew's Patrick Mullins up to possibly end the match.

Right into the post. D.C. is alive.

Up with all the pressure was Nick DeLeon, the 28-year-old who's goal in the 116 minute got this game into penalty kicks. It was his first goal of the season in 15 appearances.

A devasting miss ends the match, and as such, United's 2018 season. 

DeLeon's goal to level the match and just get to penalty kicks was theatric. All match there was one thing eluding D.C.: shots on net. Finishing the match with only four, two of them being goals, D.C. rarely gave themselves chances to score.

Fans shouted countless times "shoot, shoot!" when Rooney or Luciano Acosta found the ball at their feet. Every second dribble in the attacking third was met with consternation. 

The extra time goal probably earned DeLeon a spot taking a PK. He had not scored a goal in MLS play since Aug. 2016.

But with the fate of the match coming down to his boot, he got too much underneath it and ballooned the ball 10 feet over the net.

The game was done. DeLeon's hands were placed on top of his head in shock, and the Crew moved on. 

D.C. United pays record-breaking transfer fee to sign Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores

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D.C. United pays record-breaking transfer fee to sign Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores

As D.C. United looks to replace the production of its three leading goalscorers from last season, including England legend Wayne Rooney, the club announced the signing of Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores Tuesday. To acquire Flores, the Black-and-Red paid Morelia, his former club in Mexico, a $5 million transfer fee — a new club record for D.C. United — according to Steven Goff of the Washington Post. 

The 25-year-old appeared in three matches for Peru’s national team in the 2018 World Cup, which Flores helped his country qualify for with five goals in 14 appearances during World Cup qualification. Flores also netted two goals for Peru’s national team in the 2019 Copa America. 

Flores' contract with D.C. United is for five years for a team-high $2.1 million, according to Goff. The Peruvian will occupy one of the team’s three designated player spots. 

The Black-and-Red have one remaining designated player spot, which they could use for another high-profile acquisition before the season begins on Feb. 29, or during the summer transfer window. 

D.C. United will enter the 2020 season without the services of three of its most prolific attacking options from last year. Rooney, who scored 11 goals in 2019, returned to his native  England for a role as a player-coach with Derby County. Midfielders Luciano Acosta and Lucas Rodriguez, who both scored six goals last season, also left the club.

There's hope that Flores can help offset the effects of that lost production.

“We are excited to add an international player of Edison's pedigree to the team ahead of the 2020 season," Dave Kasper, D.C. United General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations, said in a release. "He is an exciting and dynamic attacking player who creates and scores goals. What has really impressed us is his commitment to the team...he is a versatile and gritty two-way player who plays with a real pulse.

D.C. United acquires Bill Hamid's contract on permanent transfer

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D.C. United acquires Bill Hamid's contract on permanent transfer

Bill Hamid is returning the District for good. 

D.C. United has acquired their goalkeeper permanently after a transfer from FC Midtjylland, the team announced on Monday. The deal is good for three years using Targeted Allocation Monday.

During the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Hamid was on loan from the Danish club. Both years he continued to post superb numbers for United. In 47 starts he had 19 shutouts and a 21-12-14 record. His 14 clean sheets in 2019 led the league and had him in consideration for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.

He had started for the club in some capacity in every season dating back to 2010.  The 29-year-old has club records in starts for goalkeepers (231), minutes (20,589), wins (87), saves (819) and shutouts (68).

"Bringing Bill back to the club in 2020 and beyond was a top priority for us this offseason," general manager Dave Kasper said in a release. “Bill is a leader on and off the field and we’re excited to bring him back to the club that he has worked tirelessly for over the last ten seasons. He is among the best goalkeepers in MLS and he resonates with fans and the community, and we know he is going to be an important piece at the club for the foreseeable future."

For years Hamid has been regarded as one of the top American goalkeepers, but injuries have hindered his growth. He was a part of the wave of USMNT players moving to European clubs when he signed with the Danish team back in 2018. Earlier in Jan. 2019 that appeared to pay off after his stellar season on loan with United. It resulted in Hamid on the USMNT's training camp roster.

The difference now in Hamid's permanent transfer is that he can no longer be called up by his primary team FC Midtjylland. While that never happened in his year and a half on loan with United, that possibility was always there. It's a permanent solution for United and resources can now be focused on other areas of the team.