Christian Benteke hails teammates after opening day hat-trick vs New England Revolution

  • Benteke's hat-trick lifted DC United to a 3-1 victory over the Revs
  • The 33-year-old showed he can still be relied on to finish off quality chances
  • DC United are in the midst of a transition season with new head coach Troy Lesesne

Christian Benteke bagged a hat-trick in Matchday 1
Christian Benteke bagged a hat-trick in Matchday 1 / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

DC United star striker Christian Benteke's hat-trick propelled the Black and Red to an opening day 3-1 triumph over New England Revolution, with the veteran forward praising his teammates for his success.

It was an emphatic showing by one of the league's original sides as two first-year head coaches in Troy Lesesne and Caleb Porter went head-to-head in a battle between the Eastern Conference clubs. Not many were expecting DC to come out swinging in the opening weekend, but they may have made a statement that even in a transition year with a new coach, they just might be a team that can sneak into a postseason slot come Decision Day.

One of the vital components to the Black and Red's success is Benteke, who joined the club in August of 2022 and is now set to take on his second full season in Major League Soccer. His three goals on the night at Audi Field were impressive, but the 33-year-old was quick to include his teammates as a main reason for him taking home Player of the Matchday honors.

"I am glad that I had a chance to score three goals, but overall it was a good game because I think without my teammates I can't score those goals," the former Belgium international said after the dominant victory.

As we all know, strikers are deployed to score goals, which Benteke is clearly excellent at doing, as he's now up to 18 goals in 42 appearances for DC, but what's even more important for Benteke is that he now has even more confidence to finish off chances after bagging a hat-trick in the first game of the campaign.

"As a striker, I'm not going to lie - it's important to score, to build your confidence, even more for myself because I know I'm one of the faces of a team," he added.

Benteke explained on a broader scale that he and his teammates are still adapting to a new playing style under Lesesne and while they would of course prefer to win most games, they know 2024 is very much a transition season.

However, few head coaches have experienced a start to their careers like Lesesne, as his team totaled 30 shots (five on target), created six big chances, amassed an xG of 4.60 while managing 54% possession. Of course, DC were able to control the game after New England's Giacomo Vrioni was sent off after being shown a second yellow card inside 25 minutes, but it was still an impressive feat in his first game in charge at DC.

"If we win, great. If you lose, it's not the end of the world, because we are still trying to play a new way that Troy wants us to play. I think obviously now we are more front-foot. We want to press, we want to regain the ball higher up on a pitch, which is good," Benteke said of the team's transition under Lesesne in 2024.

DC, with a win under their belts and now brimming with confidence, return to action this Saturday, March 2 to take on Portland Timbers and their first-year boss Phil Neville at Providence Park.