Goats hoping for league revival at RFK
United lead all-time regular-season series 5-3-2.
What's at stake?
Desperation will be hanging in the humid Washington air on Saturday night as two teams stuck in last place in their respective conferences meet at RFK Stadium. D.C. United and Chivas USA can reasonably make the case that they deserve better, with poor luck, injuries and enforced absences taking their toll on both sides, but lack of focus and ill-timed breakdowns have played a major role in their current predicaments. Both are riding three-game losing skids plagued by weak offensive productivity, so goals could be scarce commodities.
On Oct. 3 of last year, United hosted Chivas in a match that represented three crucial points in their hunt for a playoff berth. But with one of the biggest crowds of the season watching expectantly, the Black-and-Red laid an egg, losing 2-0 and looking devoid of ideas or inspiration in the process. Talismanic midfielder Ben Olsen was sent off and a chunk of the D.C. supporters called for coach Tom Soehn’s head in the late going on a night that might have marked the low point of the 2009 campaign.
D.C. United visited the Home Depot Center on April 2, 2005, to take part in Chivas USA’s inaugural MLS match, and despite a raucous home crowd, the defending MLS champs dispatched the expansion side 2-0 on goals by Josh Gros and Christian Gomez.
Heroes & Villains
Sacha Kljestan vs Clyde Simms/Curt Morsink: Kljestan disassembled the D.C. defense with his vision and distribution in these teams’ last meeting, and this weekend he’ll be eager to hit the ground running on his return to club action following an unsuccessful bid for a US World Cup roster spot. Morsink and Simms must limit the Rojiblancos midfielder’s time on the ball – and get forward frequently enough to force him to track back.
United back line vs Chivas back line: These are two defensive units with something to prove, especially their center back pairings. Even on occasions when the team played well as a collective, United have been slashed open time after time this season and the result is a league-worst goals-against record. Chivas USA’s new-look central partnership of Michael Umana and Dario Delgado has been far from convincing for much of 2010 and on Saturday they’ll have to come to grips with the physicality and movement of United striker Danny Allsopp.
Stat that makes you go "Hmm …"
326 minutes: the length of United’s current goalless drought in league play, 49 minutes short of the club record. The Black-and-Red can only hope that Wednesday’s three-goal explosion in an international friendly against AC Milan carries over to the weekend.
He said it
“For most of the game tonight we were able to really play. We kept the ball a bit and moved it around the field. I feel like if we can do that against an opponent like AC Milan, we should be able to carry that momentum over to MLS matches." – D.C. midfielder Clyde Simms discusses Wednesday’s confounding result—and subtly demands more of the same from his teammates.