Know Your Enemy: D.C. United
FRISCO, Texas -- The turnaround is quick for both FC Dallas and D.C. United this weekend. Each were involved in midweek games on Wednesday night and will now square off on Saturday evening at FC Dallas Stadium in their lone meeting of the season.
FC Dallas is coming off a 1-1 draw to the Portland Timbers while Ben Olsen’s club comes into this game on a six-game losing streak with the most recent loss being a 4-0 blowout to Houston.
United has just one win on the season, a Week 2 victory at home over Real Salt Lake. Since that win the Black and Red have gone 0-6-1 and have been outscored 15-3 in that stretch.
A sore spot for the United this season has been injuries. Lewis Neal and John Thorrington have been out for a while now, but neither are major contributors to the club like Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon.
DeLeon had been dealing with a hamstring strain that kept him out for several weeks. He returned to action on Wednesday against Houston but only played 19 minutes.
Pontius on the other hand has been working through a groin strain. He will still be a question mark for Saturday’s game.
Dwayne De Rosario vs Matt Hedges – While DeRo likes to slide in behind their main forward, similar to what David Ferreira does in Dallas’ formation, he tends to move up and around the defense more when he is trying to create. That means someone like Hedges will have to keep a watchful eye on the former MVP.
Key Player for D.C. United
De Rosario – Even with the current struggles, this is still DeRo’s club. The offense moves through him and if he has an off night, the Black and Red will struggle. But if he is on his game, he makes others around him so much better.
Thanks to the injuries, Olsen has had to put a few players in positions they might not normally play. Lately he has been using a 4-2-3-1 formation that resembles what Schellas Hyndman uses.
GK: Bill Hamid; RB: Chris Korb; CB: Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic; LB: Daniel Woolard; CM: Perry Kitchen, Marcelo Saragosa; RM: Kyle Porter; AM: Dwayne De Rosario; LM: Marcos Sanchez; FW: Rafael
Keys to three points
If anything, this is a game Dallas should win at home. United have been woeful to start the season and their current winless run is due to a few different factors. Either it is their leaky defense or it is their offense struggling to find a way through to the back of the net. Whatever it may be, Olsen is struggling to get his club to play at the level that it did last year when they reached the Eastern Conference finals.
Bad luck and injuries have also played a big part in United’s slow start and if Dallas wants to keep that winless run going for D.C. they’ll need to bring the high pressure and intensity that we’ve seen out of them this season.
Houston gave a nice blueprint on Wednesday as to how you spread out the United defense and spray balls into the box. United has struggled when facing a tough offense that brings a lot of high pressure.
Dallas also cannot get complacent in this game. Just because D.C. is at the bottom of the league standings at the moment doesn’t mean they will just roll over. The points are there for Dallas in this one, but they have to play a complete game to take them.