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Oppo Research: 5 Things about DC United

Ted Meyer of RFK Refugees tells us about DC United's rebuild under Troy Lessesne, and why Christian Benteke has 6 goals in 6 games.

Christian Benteke likes to score goals. | Courtesy of

In this edition of Oppo Research, Hudson River Blue spoke with Ted Meyer of RFK Refugees to learn more about DC United, New York City FC's opponent on Saturday at Citi Field. Here is your NYCFC vs DC United preview.

1. Troy Lessesne establishing new culture, identity

Hudson River Blue: After missing out on the playoffs last season, DC United has had an uneven start to the season. How do you assess DC’s inconsistent start under new head coach Troy Lesesne?

Tom Meyer: I think it is important to assess the goal for DC United this season, and it really goes beyond results. For the past few years, the only thing that has been consistent about DC United is being inconsistent with their vision. Since Ben Olsen was dismissed in 2020 they are on their non-caretaker third manager. Soccer staff in the front office under Dave Kasper cycled through for years with no real true direction established. It always appeared to be a directionless club attaching to whatever trend or idea without any real follow-through.

In 2024, the team cleaned out nearly their entire soccer staff. Ally Mackay has stepped in as General Manager and they have brought in Troy Lesesne as the new coach for the team. They have both talked at length about establishing a culture and identity that has been sorely lacking in recent years. I think most of us thought this would take some time. This year would essentially be a bridge year while we waited out some bad contracts and looked to be competitive in years to come. However, despite recent results, the identity has already taken hold, and nearly all the team’s moves this past offseason have appeared to have improved the team. It finally feels like the team is rowing all in one direction, and the team looks to be competitive in just about every game they have played this year.

As far as the results, they have really only been inconsistent because the team had a bad 20 minutes against Orlando last week, and if they had seen that game out they would be sitting 3rd in the East. That being said, they have struggled to finish opponents off or hold a lead. They have dropped eight points thus far from leading positions with last week being the worst of it. The biggest issue is they lack the depth. mostly due to the weight of mediocre players on bad contracts. One of the highest-paid left-backs in the league, Mohanad Jeahze, can’t even see the bench, let alone the field. I think that has contributed to an inability to see out games. They just don’t have the real depth to extend their advantage or see things out.

That being said, they are still getting incredible production out of some key players. Christian Benteke and Mateusz Klich have looked even better than last year as DPs and seem bought into Lesesne’s system. They have shown an ability to play better than their opponents and their press has helped them generate some very high-quality chances. The team is at the top on the xG charts and Benteke looks well and truly in the Golden Boot race. I think the results will start to come if they can keep this pace up, and if they can get out of some of the bad contracts and get some more help they could be a threat this year.

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