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Desperate D.C. United looking for more vs. Atlanta United

Sep 16, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; D.C. United attacker Christian Benteke (20) dribbles the ball past Charlotte FC defender Adilson Malanda (29) in the first half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United continue the fight for their playoff hopes when they host Atlanta United on Wednesday night in Washington.

D.C. (9-12-8, 35 points) has played to back-to-back scoreless draws in its past two outings, home to San Jose on Sept. 9 and then at Charlotte last Saturday night.

It was enough to keep the Black and Red in possession of a playoff place for the moment, entering Wednesday two points above Chicago and three above Charlotte for the ninth and final Eastern Conference spot.

But it wasn’t ideal, given Chicago has one match in hand and Charlotte has two.

“It’s the minimum we needed to get,” D.C. striker Christian Benteke told the Washington Post after the draw in Charlotte. “We wanted to get the three points. It was a 50-50 game at times, but I felt we had some chances.

“Now at this stage, every point counts, and we’re going to take this point.”

The match also continued a frustrating trend of attacking inconsistency that began in late June. D.C. has scored 11 times in its past 10 matches, but nine of those goals came in three multi-goal performances. They’ve been held scoreless five times.

Atlanta (12-8-9, 45 points) has also struggled with consistency this season but now looks to be in its best form of the year following an active summer transfer window.

The Five Stripes have scored multiple goals in four of five matches since league play resumed following the Leagues Cup break. They are coming off a rousing 5-2 home win over Inter Miami on Saturday.

While Miami was without Lionel Messi, Atlanta still had to respond after conceding an early goal. Two summer signings contributed, with Tristan Muyumba scoring Atlanta’s first goal and Saba Lobjanidze adding a late assist.

“It was massive, a massive reaction,” said goalkeeper Brad Guzan, whose team enters Wednesday sixth in the East but only three points out of third.

“That was extremely impressive, and obviously the result was good, but I thought how we got to that result was even more important than the actual result itself.”

–Field Level Media

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