ORLANDO, Fla. – After scoring on his D.C. United debut Saturday night, midfielder Yamil Asad was left to balance the satisfaction of making an impact with his new club with the disappointment of a 1-1 draw against Orlando City SC that could've been a victory.
“I believe it was a really good debut," Asad said. "At the end I was a bit upset because of the draw but at the same time I'm glad I got to debut."
The 23-year-old Asad joined D.C. United less than three weeks prior to their opener after scoring seven goals and adding 13 assists in Atlanta United's debut season last year.
On a team where he may be asked to take a more featured role, Saturday's 73-minute shift was a good start.
"I thought he did a great job,” said D.C. assistant Chad Ashton, who served as head coach Saturday while Ben Olsen served a one-game suspension after being dismissed in last year's season finale. “We've got to get him in positions that is going to allow him to be a little more creative, and a little more dangerous. But again, we have a new crew with so many guys coming in that we are still figuring that out a little bit.
“He did such a good job of pressing and has a good feel for the game. He's a great player, and a very good piece for us."
Asad's instincts may prove vital as D.C. attempts to navigate a difficult start to the season.
Including Saturday, DCU will play 12 of its first 14 games of the season on the road before its official home at Audi Field opens this summer, with its two "home" games in that stretch in temporary venues in Maryland.
Asad had a somewhat similar experience last year as Atlanta went through a prolonged summer road trip between leaving Bobby Dodd Stadium and beginning their Mercedes-Benz Stadium tenure.
“This will be something we will have to work hard on as a team and take advantage of the home games [later in the season]," Asad said.
Asad joined Atlanta last year on loan from Argentine side Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield. His rights were traded to D.C. this offseason for a reported $500,000 of allocation money ($300K General, $200K Targeted) over two years, plus another $100,000 in GAM if Asad plays a game for D.C. in 2020.
As part of the wave of South Americans coming to MLS, the midfielder believes the league's appeal goes beyond the Western Hemisphere.
“MLS is a league that is growing with players not just from South America, but from Europe as well,” said Asad. “I hope that all the players have a great year because this is a league that gives us everything we need."