It had been almost two years since we'd seen Paul Arriola on the scoresheet for the Black and Red. On Saturday night, that wait came to an end.
The 26-year-old midfielder found the back of the net for United's second goal of the evening before also grabbing an assist in D.C. United's 3-0 rout over Inter Miami. The goal, which came in the 22nd minute, marked a momentous moment for Arriola.
Arriola's scoring drought -- brought on by a confluence of injuries, a loan spell and the pandemic -- dates back to August 31, 2019, two months before he suffered a torn ACL. In 2020, Arriola missed all but one match during the pandemic-shortened campaign. Then in February, he joined Swansea City for a loan spell that was cut short after he suffered a quadriceps injury just before the start of the MLS season.
Saturday marked his fourth start under new manager Hernán Losada. It also marked what D.C. United fans hope is the first goal of many for the Designated Player who made waves with the U.S. Men's National Team before signing with D.C. United in 2017.
His contributions helped D.C. United (3-0-5) to its first road win of the season heading into the international break. Ironically, as he and veteran goalkeeper Bill Hamid returned to the lineup, the team finds itself in an injury crisis with 10 players unfit for selection as of Saturday.
They'll take three crucial points into a much-needed break, but Arriola will hope he can carry this momentum into their rematch with Inter Miami on June 19.