DC United

Wind, rain doesn't deter fans from cheering on DC United in home opener

Wind, rain doesn't deter fans from cheering on DC United in home opener

WASHINGTON - Neither wind nor rain deterred DC United’s fanbase on Sunday night as an announced crowd of 16,942 donned black and red to cheer on the home team for the 2019 season opener.

As rain poured down on Audi Field in Southwest DC, the black-and-red faithful waved their flags and led a series of chants that echoed throughout the new state-of-the-art stadium.

Energized by the home crowd, DC United defeated Atlanta United with a decisive 2-0 win. Paul Arriola scored the opening goal of the season and Luciano Acosta upped the ante with another goal in the 58th minute. 

“We had great energy from the crowd,” said DC United’s coach, Ben Olsen.  Given the weather conditions, “it was not easy to sit here. We hope we sent them home happy.”

Just like the home crowd, the weather conditions did not seem to faze DC United fan favorite, Wayne Rooney.

“Rain was fine,” he noted. “The game today was a good game for us. We stuck to our game plan.”

Rooney continues to energize DC United fans. Arriving in July last year, Rooney hit the ground running and helped the team move from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to a playoff spot - and is still a huge point of excitement for fans.

“We drove down from Atlantic City today just to watch the game,” said season ticket holders, Buddy and Shelley. “We are excited to see Wayne Rooney play a full season with the team. He’s a leader on the field and has really brought the team together.” 

Though DC United ultimately lost to the Columbus Crew in the first round of the 2018 playoffs, DC United fans have their eyes on a playoff spot once again. Better yet, the MLS Cup.

“We already made it to playoffs last season,” said Brian, a long-time DC United fan. “I think we have a really good chance of getting the Cup this year”. 

If the season opener is any indication of what is to come, DC United faithful have lots to be excited about—no rain, no wind, and no defending Cup champions seem to keep DC United down. 

 

DC United acquires midefielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United

DC United acquires midefielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United

One week after paying a record-breaking transfer fee to acquire Edison Flores, DC United added another midfielder to the roster in the form of Julian Gressel. 

DC United acquired Gressel from Atlanta United via transfer Tuesday for $650,000 in 2020 Target Allocation Money (TAM) and $100,000 in TAM for 2021. Additional compensation could be owed to Atlanta based on performance incentives. 

Gressel was the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and has led the league in assists since debuting with Atlanta in 2017. Over his first 98 career appearances, he's recorded 32 assists to go along with 15 career goals. 

"[Gressel] has impressed throughout his time in MLS and has been a major component to Atlanta’s success in the league since 2017," DC GM and VP of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper said in a statement. "Last year, he led Atlanta in assists and chances created while also scoring eight goals so we’re looking forward to adding his impressive goal creating ability and eye for goal to our roster in 2020 and beyond."

Gressel was the 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year after scoring five goals and recorded nine assists in his first 32 appearances as a pro. 

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

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.