Preview: DC United vs. Seattle Sounders

D.C. United return home to take on Seattle Sounders FC for a midweek clash at RFK Stadium, trying to end a sudden skid and put an end to that of the visitors. United have lost back-to-back games, allowing four goals in each, last a 4-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo. Sounders FC have won two in a row and are unbeaten in six, after their 3-0 win against Toronto FC at home last weekend.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald MLS Career: 40 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 8; pens: 7

INJURY REPORT: D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Junior Carreiro (R ankle sprain); DF Devon McTavish (concussion); MF Kurt Morsink (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Branko Boskovic (L knee contusion); PROBABLE: DF Jed Zayner (L hamstring strain) ... SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW O’Brian White (L leg surgery); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); PROBABLE: FW Pat Noonan (R quad strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Leo Gonzalez

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 8 goals ... United 1 win, 7 goals ... Ties 1 AT RFK STADIUM (2 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 3 goals ... United 0 wins, 1 goal ... Ties 0 RETURN MATCH: 9/17: Seattle Sounders FC vs. D.C. United, 6 p.m. PT

LAST YEAR (MLS): 6/10: SEA 3, DC 2 (Cristman 79; own goal 90; Montero 90 – Pontius 39, 44) 7/15: DC 0, SEA 1 (Levesque 89)

Sounders FC have won on all three visits to RFK Stadium in their history, including a win in the 2009 U.S. Open Cup Final, the first of historic back-to-back Open Cup titles for the club.

Sounders FC have yet to win on their home ground, though, against D.C. United. The teams played to a draw in their first meeting in Seattle, then United came away with a victory last year.

Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. SEA: first game ... Sigi Schmid v DC: P28 W15 L9 D4

D.C. UNITED

D.C. United were once again hit for four goals, this time in a 4-1 defeat by the Houston Dynamo on Friday evening at Robertson Stadium. United have 7 points from 7 games on the year, sitting in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo took the lead after barely four minutes. Geoff Cameron dispossessed D.C. midfielder Clyde Simms and slotted a nice through ball for Will Bruin, and the rookie calmly finished near-post past a closing Bill Hamid.
  • United pulled even in the 39th minute from a free kick. Fred cleared out space in the Dynamo wall and Marc Burch sent a low, powerful blast from 25 yards out that beat 'keeper Tally Hall to the near corner.
  • The tie, though, lasted for just two minutes. After gaining possession in midfield, Cameron sent a through ball to Brad Davis out on the left flank and Davis curled in a cross from the end line. Bruin beat fellow rookie Perry Kitchen to blast a header home for his second.
  • The Dynamo used their set piece advantage in the 57th minute, when Bruin again rose above a helpless Kitchen to head home his final goal of the evening, this time off a Davis free kick from the left flank.
  • Weaver capped the scoring in the 62nd minute. A long throw in from Hunter Freeman found Weaver all alone behind the United back line. With acres of space in front of him, Weaver carried into the box and fired a shot into the roof of the net. Jed Zayner came into the back four for Chris Korb.
  • United coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that lost 4-0 to the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid - Jed Zayner (Ethan White 61), Dejan Jakovic, Perry Kitchen, Marc Burch - Clyde Simms - Fred (Andy Najar 46), Dax McCarty, Chris Pontius - Josh Wolff (Santino Quaranta 84), Charlie Davies

TEAM NEWS

  • After conceding four goals in back-to-back losses to New York and Houston (and allowing that many for a third time in 2011), United has allowed the most goals in MLS this season.
  • “That’s three games in a row that, defensively, we have had a lot of trouble. We need to kind of assess where we stand with this team. Overall, [Friday] was just men vs. boys. It’s pretty simple,” Olsen said. “We talked all week about what it would take here, that it wasn’t really about tactics, it’s about who is the most manly, who are the most guys that are committed and ready to do the work that you need to get a result at Houston or away. But it was just unacceptable. We lost every matchup on the field. It was man 4-4-2 vs. 4-4-2, with man matchups all around. Not one went our way.”
  • Olsen indicated changes to his team could be ahead after the heavy back-to-back defeats.
  • [inline_node:334580]“They beat us for 90 minutes,” Olsen said to The Washington Post. “They have guys that get it. They have guys that get that soccer is about more than knocking the ball around and showing up 80 percent of the game. This is a job, and I don’t know if some of our guys understand the seriousness of what we’re trying to do. If it continues, we’ll have to make changes, real drastic changes.”
  • Ahead of the Houston match, United suffered a big when Designated Player Branko Boskovic was diagnosed with a torn knee ligament, suffered during the Open Cup loss to New England. Further tests are scheduled, but if surgery is indicated, he could be out for 4-6 months – which would also be a blow for the Montenegro national team as it chases Euro 2012 qualification.
  • For a second time this season, United fought back to equalize a game – then conceded the go-ahead almost immediately. On April 3, against Colorado, Santino Quaranta leveled terms in the 70th minute – only for the Rapids to retake the lead barely a minute later.
  • "We get a goal back and we are 1-1, just like [at] Colorado,” Olsen said. “We didn’t learn the Colorado lesson. I don’t know how they get behind us that quick and we don’t deal with marks very well.”
  • In United’s two wins, they’ve scored six goals. In their four losses, they’ve conceded 14 goals.
  • “It’s embarrassing. We should all take a long hard look in the mirror. We should all realize this isn’t little kids stuff. If we don’t bring the effort and desire, we aren’t going to win in this league,” said Dax McCarty. “That’s 75 percent of the game in this league is just out fighting the opponent. We didn’t do that [against Houston].”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

Seattle Sounders FC won for a second match in a row and extended their unbeaten run, in a 3-0 win against Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at Qwest Field. Sounders FC have 12 points from 8 games on the season, sitting in a tie for second place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC took the lead in the ninth minute. With TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei moving to cover the near post, an unmarked Alvaro Fernández got on the end of a Brad Evans cross from the right flank and headed home.
  • Seattle doubled the lead in the 52nd minute. This time it was Evans who finished off, running onto a Montero pass and firing a shot to the left side that Frei could only get his hands on but not stop.
  • Evans added a third on the night for the home side and his third of the season in the 75th minute from the
  • penalty spot after referee Ricardo Salazar whistled Mikael Yourassowsky for a handball in the box.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that defeated a 10-man Colorado Rapids 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Erik Friberg and Alvaro Fernandez came in up top and Nate Jaqua started in attack with Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White injured and Mauro Rosales out of the team.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl - Osvaldo Alonso - Brad Evans, Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 80), Alvaro Fernandez - Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 72), Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 67)

TEAM NEWS

  • After losing attackers Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White to surgery ahead of the match, Sounders FC credited their fans with inspiring the victory against Toronto FC at a sold-out Qwest Field. The fans raised “11” placards – Zakuani’s uniform number – during the 11th minute. Both Zakuani and White had scored two goals and added two assists over the previous five games.
  • Playing wide on the right of midfield in one of a number of tactical shifts, Brad Evans scored two goals (one from a penalty kick) and added an assist.
  • "We want him on the right, but we also want him coming inside a little bit more. Same thing with Fernandez.We just wanted to get Friberg into the middle, because we felt, in this game, this is the way the formation would be best for us,” said Sigi Schmid. “Brad's played on the right before, he's comfortable out there, he's got a good cross with the ball, as he showed on the first goal and he obviously finishes well.”
  • After four substitute appearances, Nate Jaqua made his first start of the season after undergoing knee surgery last year.
  • "It's a combination that hasn't played a lot together since 2009. In 2009, they were pretty successful,” said Schmid. “Nate [Jaqua] did a good job playing his role, flicking balls off. He worked off the ball as well. Fredy [Montero], as a result, was able to drop in the hole a little bit more.”
  • Schmid put Patrick Ianni and Tyson Wahl into the back four for the Colorado match (Wahl making his first start of the year), and in the two games since, Sounders FC have not allowed a goal.
  • “Right now, defensively, I think we're doing a good job. I think Patrick Ianni's played well the last two games he's been in there. I think Tyson Wahl's done well for us at left back also, and [Jhon] Kennedy [Hurtado], and [James] Riley's been solid for us defensively, [Osvaldo] Alonso as he always is,” Schmid said. “Defense is a good team effort, Kasey's come up with some good saves.”
  • With a view to the busy stretch, Mauro Rosales was not in the 18-man gameday squad after making four consecutive starts.
  • “It worked out well for us in terms of keeping Mauro [Rosales] out, so Mauro should be able to go on Wednesday. And if not on Wednesday, for sure he'll be able to go on Saturday,” Schmid said. “I think our depth showed through. Obviously we have to rely on our depth as we go into this week. We know we've got people – Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Mike Fucito, Roger [Levesque], who came on, Lamar Neagle – we've got a lot of different options and those guys will come through for us."