Christian Benteke's hat trick lifts D.C. United over Revs

Christian Benteke scored his second career MLS hat trick to lead host D.C. United to a 3-1 victory over the 10-man New England Revolution in both teams' regular season opener on Saturday night.

After leading D.C. with 14 goals last season, the former Liverpool and Crystal Palace attacker began the new campaign with goals in 34th minute, 72nd minute and then in second-half stoppage time to lift the Black and Red to the win.

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The 33-year-old Belgian has now scored seven times in his last four appearances for D.C. dating back to last season. The stretch began with his other hat trick, compiled in a 5-3 home defeat to the New York Red Bulls and then-interim RBNY manager Troy Lesesne on Sept. 23.

Lesesne was since passed on for the full-time Red Bulls job and then hired by new D.C. general manager Ally Mackay. And while he wasn't on the sideline Saturday due to a card accumulation suspension picked up at the end of his Red Bulls tenure, his new team snapped a three-match losing streak against New England that had dated back to 2022.

Carles Gil scored a brilliant leveler from distance in the second half to briefly give New England life after they were outplayed for the opening hour.

But the Revs were always at a disadvantage after Giacomo Vrioni was sent off for receiving his second yellow card in the 25th minute from referee Andrew Musashe for his late sliding challenge near the far touchline.

Musashe was again involved nine minutes later when it originally appeared Henrich Ravas had saved Benteke's header with an extended left leg.

But after a video review, Musashe awarded a goal, judging the ball had crossed the line before Ravas halted its progress.

Benteke then added his second to put D.C. back in front only five minutes after Gil had evened the game.

After Gabriel Pirani's initial shot was blocked, Connor Antley reached the ball on the left side of the penalty area and sent a header toward the back post. Benteke beat his defender to it and met it with a sliding finish past Ravas.

It was 3-1 on Benteke's second headed goal after he simply outleaped Ravas to reach a long looping cross from fullback Aaron Herrera.