DC United: a coach close to his players

DC United are nearing the end of their miserable season, which they are guaranteed to finish last in the Eastern Association table of Major League Soccer (MLS). There are still some positive points to remember, including the arrival of Wayne Rooney as coach.

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The Englishman played in the American capital in 2018 and 2019 and now manages several of his former teammates. There is thus a good working relationship that has formed between the legendary striker and his troops since he was hired in July.

« Personally, I think it’s good to have a coach you’ve played with, someone who knows me well and knows what I’m capable of, » defender Chris Odoi said in early September. Atsem interviewed by WTOP News radio. As soon as he arrived he spoke to me and told me that I was part of his system [de jeu]. I was coming back from an injury at the time, so he wanted me to work on being able to play 90 minutes, gradually.

With 18 games this season, a personal mark, Odoi-Atsem is finally getting the playing time he deserves after years of battling injury and illness. The 27-year-old American was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma three years ago.

costly injuries

For several games, DC United have had to use their third goalkeeper, former Real Salt Lake player David Ochoa. In front of the net, Bill Hamid hasn’t played since May due to injury and Rafael Romo underwent knee surgery on 20 September.

Ochoa should thus be Rooney’s right-hand man on Saturday against CF Montreal. In September, he had two shutouts but allowed three goals per game in his last two outings.

Wilfried Nancy’s squad will have to be wary of striker Christian Benteke, who, with his imposing size, can play a role up front. The Belgian scored his first MLS goal in his side’s last game on September 18.

“He is a prime target up front. You can see that it really helped us. Sometimes when you have to avoid the pressure [adverse], we send him the ball and he keeps it. Then the whole team can come up and join the attack,” analyzed Odoi-Atsem.

When the two teams last met, on July 23, CF Montreal won 2-1 at Audi Field. This time, the Bleu-Blanc-Noir will also have the luxury of playing at home at Saputo Stadium.

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