D.C. United welcomed an international opponent to Audi Field for the first time on Wednesday night, coming away with a 1-1 result in friendly competition against Honduran side CD Olimpia.
With the fight for a playoff spot at the front of their minds, D.C. dressed seven players from USL affiliate Richmond Kickers for the friendly and started a reserve-heavy starting lineup. Midfielder Chris Durkin was the lone exception, as the 18-year-old with 20 MLS appearances took his place in the midfield next to Ian Harkes.
D.C. United boss Ben Olsen was impressed with the effort from both sides in the friendly.
“They went about it in a real way,” Olsen said of Olimpia in his postgame press conference. “Which I think helped a lot of our players prepare for what’s to come. In the next two months of the season, if they’re called on, this game will help them get ready for real minutes in MLS.”
Forward Dane Kelly opened the scoring for the Black-and-Red in the 15th minute. The Jamaican international raced past Olimpia’s back line to get on the end of defender Kevin Ellis’s ball over the top, connecting for a half-volleyed strike that Olimpia goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar.
It was Kelly’s first goal for D.C. United. The 27-year-old signed with the club in March after winning the USL Golden Boot and league MVP honors for Reno 1868 FC a season ago.
Olimpia forward Diego Reyes drew the visitors level four minutes later, streaking behind a pair of D.C. defenders on a counterattack and firing past goalkeeper Travis Worra.
Worra totaled five saves, including an 83rd-minute stop at his near post of Olimpia forward Rony Martinez that preserved the result.
D.C. have this weekend off before hosting Montreal Impact on Sept. 29 in a game that will have massive playoff implications for both clubs. The Impact currently lead United by four points for the sixth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.