D.C. United striker Christian Benteke is set to debut when his new club visits New York City FC on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+), as first reported by Steven Goff of The Washington Post.
The Belgian international, a deadline-day signing from English Premier League side Crystal Palace, was among the marquee additions of MLS’s Secondary Transfer Window.
But the 31-year-old Designated Player has been unable to feature under new head coach Wayne Rooney while awaiting his work visa, missing five Black-and-Red games in the process. That paperwork is now in hand.
Benteke joined D.C. in early August through the 2024 MLS season with a club option in 2025. He complements Greek international forward Taxi Fountas and Icelandic international midfielder Victor Palsson as DPs, all of whom have joined the club this season. Benteke is unlikely to play alongside Fountas (head) against NYCFC, as the 2022 MLS All-Star is listed as "out" on their injury report.
Before coming to MLS, Benteke tallied 86 goals and 23 assists in 280 Premier League matches, featuring for Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Aston Villa. He’s also competed extensively in his home country for Genk, Standard Liege and others.
On the international stage, Benteke has 18 goals in 45 appearances for Belgium. He’s vying for a Qatar 2022 World Cup spot under manager Roberto Martinez; they’re drawn into Group F alongside Canada, Croatia and Morocco.
D.C. United are bottom of the Eastern Conference (14th) and overall league (28th) tables with seven games to go in their season. They’re trending toward being the first team to be mathematically eliminated from the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.