3 takeaways from DC United’s Matchweek 5 doubleheader

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 01: Adrien Perez #16 of DC United dribbles the ball during a game between San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United at PayPal Park on May 01, 2021 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 01: Adrien Perez #16 of DC United dribbles the ball during a game between San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United at PayPal Park on May 01, 2021 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Last week DC United had a doubleheader week taking on the Chicago Fire and Orlando City three days later. They finished with 1-1 with a 1-0 win against Chicago and a 1-0 loss against Orlando. Here are 3 takeaways from the games.

Moses Nyeman is good

Many who have watched Moses Nyeman know he has a ton of quality but he’s been putting it on full display in his most recent showings for DC. With United’s roster decimated with injury, Nyeman has been seeing plenty of playing time in United’s midfield. Losada hasn’t been shy about his praise for Nyeman either, calling him the best player in their game against Columbus. He’s been a lock at the center midfield position above Moreno since DC last played San Jose.

DC united winning goal against Chicago can be credited to Nyeman.  After a bad pass from Andy Najar, Nyeman jumps to the ball and makes a clean takeaway deep into the opposing team’s final third. He immediately turns towards goal and begins driving forward laying in Perez for the hockey assist to Flores.

He’s been a difference-maker for DC, which is not something you always hear when talking about a 17-year-old. But Nyeman is not your average 17-year-old. He plays so much older, and at his 5’5”, 126 pounds size, he plays so much bigger. He is an engine that plays all over the field. Even with his size he can cover so much ground in a small amount of time and take on opponents of any size. He’s a decent passer as well still improving his playmaking, getting more and more comfortable unleashing his long ball.

He’s an exciting player for DC United who does have a few exciting players on their roster. But Nyeman is performing right now and proving he belongs in this starting lineup.

Perez and Flores getting better

As the season wears on Flores and Perez have been slowly coming into form for DC United. Flores, one of two Designated players on the roster, and Perez, previously with LAFC, who came to DC on a free transfer, have both stepped up since the beginning of the season.

Perez, traditionally a winger, and Flores, a number 10, both have been playing in striker roles up top due to the injuries that have piled up. Perez was only getting few minutes in the early games of the season then Losada saw something behind the scenes and moved him into the starting lineup where he shined. He has flashed really good technical ability and positive aggressiveness moving forward. He’s become a primary target up top.

Flores has slowly stepped up his game all around. He scored his much-needed first goal of the season against Chicago giving him an assist and a goal on the year. Losada has given him more freedom and his comfortability on the ball has increased. He looks more dangerous in the final third and more like the player DC United signed as their DP.

Paul Arriola Returns

A big positive for DC United going forward, Paul Arriola made his long-awaited return to the starting lineup against Orlando. After going on loan to Swansea City, Arriola suffered a quadriceps injury that saw his loan cut short and him returning to DC to rehab. Arriola made his first appearance since Feb. 27 against Chicago where he put in 15 minutes off the bench. Then the quick turnaround game against Orlando and Arriola was in the starting lineup.

Arriola put in a decent showing against Orlando before Losada chose to be cautious and pulled him in the 64th minute. He brought a ton of energy, he was active on the ball, getting fouled 3 times, and he showed his quality in a few moments.

Referencing Losadas style postgame he said, “It’s too my liking, it’s to my style, the type of player I am, high intensity, always pushing forward trying to play quick. But it’s just the beginning. This team has great things to achieve this year.” It’s good to hear from one of your DP’s, players are buying into Losada’s system and they feel optimistic about their future. He finished the interview saying, “happy days going forward.” Arriola’s return is a huge plus for DC United. He’ll bring much-needed energy and speed going forward.

Follow Collin Allison of MLSMultiplex @MLSnutmeg