Benteke hat trick lifts DC United over Revolution in season opener

DC United’s 29th season opener was easily the most unique in the storied franchise’s history. In his debut, manager Troy Lesesne was banned from the sidelines due to a red card in his final match as interim coach of the New York Red Bulls. An ongoing labor dispute meant that replacement referees were utilized in all Major League Soccer matches during opening weekend. And DC United’s supporters groups sat quietly — refusing to play the drums and/or participate in organized songs or chants — in protest of the team’s preseason trip to Saudi Arabia.

All of which combined for a quieter-than-usual atmosphere and a disjointed match that lacked any real flow. Fortunately for the black and red though, forward Christian Benteke is still the face of the franchise. The bruising Belgian provided the necessary firepower — netting a hat trick to lead his team to a 3-1 victory over the New England Revolution in the season opener at Audi Field.

Revolution forward Giacomo Vrioni received a second yellow card in just the 25th minute, forcing New England to play a man down for the bulk of the game. From there, Benteke took over, scoring a series of goals from around and within the six-yard box — utilizing his head and his feet to provide the necessary offense on a cold and rainy evening. Benteke has now scored 17 goals since the start of last season, second most in MLS.

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