FC Dallas will make their lone trip of the season to the nation’s capital on Saturday afternoon to face D.C. United. Dallas is coming off their second-straight 2-0 result at home and will look to carry that luck on the road for their first road win in 2016. D.C. will look to earn their first three-point performance at home on Saturday after draws in consecutive weeks.
With the first international window of the season open, both sides will be missing key pieces this weekend, especially on the back line. D.C. will be without center back Steve Birnbaum, who has played all 270 minutes for United this season, and midfielder Alvaro Saborio, who has come off the bench in two of D.C.’s three games this season. FCD will be without defenders Walker Zimmerman, Maynor Figueroa, Atiba Harris and Moises Hernandez, as well as goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, midfielder Kellyn Acosta and forward Tesho Akindele.
KEY PLAYER FOR D.C. UNITED
Lamar Neagle – The former Sounders midfielder has proven to be a big acquisition in the offseason for D.C. Playing up top in a two-forward attack, he has one of the team’s two goals on the season and is tied for the team lead in shots with 7. Neagle will be key if D.C. is to test FC Dallas’ new-look back line early and often on Saturday.
Mauro Diaz vs. Marcelo Sarvas – The Magic Little Unicorn scored on a bending free kick last week to put FCD up, and he’s playing some of his best soccer right out of the gate in 2016. Houston was able to contain him two weeks ago with stunning results and D.C. will undoubtedly look to do the same.
Chris Seitz vs. Travis Worra – With Jesse Gonzalez on international duty and Bill Hamid out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, it’ll be a test of goalkeeper depth for the two sides this weekend. Seitz is a proven MLS veteran who earned three clean sheets in seven starts to begin the 2015 season, while Worra is set to get the third start of his young career – replacing Andrew Dykstra after week one.
PROJECTED LINEUP (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Travis Worra; Defenders: Taylor Kemp, Bobby Boswell, Kofi Opare, Sean Franklin; Midfielders: Chris Rolfe, Marcelo Sarvas, Nick DeLeon, Patrick Nyarko; Forwards: Lamar Neagle, Luciano Acosta.
KEYS TO THREE POINTS
A focal point for Dallas this season is improving their record on the road. After a rough start to the season in that regard, they’ll look to bounce back in D.C. If they can come out strong and carry their stout defensive performance from the game against Montreal, Maxi Urruti and Mauro Diaz are bound to create magic up front to earn Dallas their first three points on away from Toyota Stadium.