Preview: Rejuvenated DC, Dallas collide at RFK

Two teams coming off a buoying victories meet at RFK Stadium on Saturday night when D.C. United play host to FC Dallas. United rebounded from back-to-back heavy defeats with a 2-1 win at midweek against Seattle Sounders FC. FC Dallas have now won two in a row, their last victory a 2-1 home win against the LA Galaxy.

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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Kevin Duliba; JAR (opposite): Rob Fereday; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal MLS Career: 110 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 45; pens: 43
INJURY REPORT: D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Branko Boskovic (L ACL tear); MF Junior Carreiro (L ankle sprain); DF Devon McTavish (concussion); MF Kurt Morsink (concussion); DF Jed Zayner (L hamstring strain) … FC DALLAS
OUT: DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); DF Jair Benitez (L knee)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (36 meetings): United 13 wins (0 shootout), 65 goals … FC Dallas 17 wins (4 shootout), 64 goals … Ties 6
AT RFK (16 meetings): United 7 wins (0 shootout), 39 goals … FC Dallas 5 wins (2 shootout), 27 goals … Ties 4
RETURN MATCH: 7/16: FC Dallas vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/8: DAL 1, DC 0 (Cunningham 68)
8/14: DC 1, DAL 3 (own goal 80 – Ferreira 36; Alexander 49; Cunningham 90)

  • FC Dallas won both league meetings a year ago, a 1-0 win at Pizza Hut Park in May and a 3-1 win at RFK Stadium in August. It was FCD’s first win in Washington since 2005.
  • D.C. United last defeated FC Dallas May 2, 2009, three meetings ago.
  • The teams also met last season in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match, played a couple of weeks before the first league meeting, with United winning 4-2.
  • Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. DAL: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Schellas Hyndman v DC: P6 W3 L1 D2

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United stopped their recent skid in a big way, defeating Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 on Wednesday evening at RFK Stadium. United have 10 points from 8 games on the year, sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • United struck first in the 31st minute. Andy Najar’s through ball found Davies in space down the right flank. After shrugging off the challenge of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Davies squared a perfect ball for Josh Wolff, who slammed a shot first-time past Kasey Keller.
  • The same offensive trio teamed to double D.C.’s lead in the 52nd minute. Najar once again created space on the ball, and slotted in Wolff on the right wing. Wolff this time played provider, sending in an inch-perfect cross for Davies to tap home for his league-leading sixth goal of the season.
  • Sounders FC pulled a goal back when Fredy Montero won a penalty, and Brad Evans converted from the spot, but Seattle could not maintain their perfect record at RFK Stadium.
  • United coach Ben Olsen made three changes to the team that lost 4-1 to the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium. Ethan White and Daniel Woolard came into the back four for Jed Zayner and Marc Burch,and Andy Najar came into the midfield for Fred.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid – Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard – Andy Najar (Fred 77), Dax McCarty, Clyde Simms (Stephen King 82), Chris Pontius (Santino Quaranta 49) – Charlie Davies, Josh Wolff.

TEAM NEWS

  • After conceding four goals in each of back-to-back losses, United came out aiming to put an end to that streak.
  • “It was a tough week,” Josh Wolff said to The Washington Post. “We had some real conversations and some honesty with each other. Not that it was throwing anybody under the bus, but there was some realness to it. At times, it’s necessary. For this team to move forward, you have to have those. Tonight was a good response.”
  • Olsen made a couple of changes to his back four. Perry Kitchen, who had played only in central defense, moved to right back in place of Jed Zayner, who had a hamstring ailment. Ethan White moved into central defense, partnering Dejan Jakovic, while Daniel Woolard replaced Marc Burch at left back.
  • “Perry has played [outside back] since he was 16 or 17, which actually wasn’t too long ago … But he did very well. I asked him about playing there and how he felt, and he is the type of kid that says, ‘Yeah, let’s do it,’ ” Olsen said. “Ethan brought a nice bite, which I thought was important to have. Woolard came in and actually struggled with a little hamstring, but he stepped in and I thought had a really good game.”
  • Andy Najar made his first MLS start since March 26, coming in on the right side of midfield, and played a part in both United goals – a club season-high two assists.
  • "It was really nice to see him back again," Olsen said. "He is one of my favorite guys that I’ve had around in my professional career. His energy looks better, his spirit looks better, and I was very excited for him to be back."
  • Charlie Davies scored his first goal since April 16, but still leads MLS with six on the season. For Josh Wolff, it was his second goal in a United uniform, his first since the season-opening win vs. Columbus.
  • “When your strikers are on the same page, and can create a goal and score a goal, the team is going to look forward to making that happen more often,” Davies said. “After tonight, everyone knows, Charlie and Wolffy, you have to watch out for both of them and we’re only going to grow together. It can be something special.”
  • There was also a subtle tactical shift in the midfield for United, where Dax McCarty and Clyde Simms again paired.
  • “We flattened Dax out today, he worked a little bit more side-to-side with Clyde, and I think it worked out pretty well, but it was still them reading off each other,” said Olsen. “ … Overall, I think this was one of McCarty’s better games. He gave us the scrappyness that I want to see out of him and he was much better with the ball.”

FC DALLAS
FC Dallas returned home and won for a second consecutive match, getting a late goal for a 2-1 win against the LA Galaxy on Sunday evening at Pizza Hut Park. FCD has 10 points from 7 games on the season, sitting in a three-way tie
for fourth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • FCD took the lead two minutes after the second-half restart. Andrew Jacobson flicked a Jackson throw-in to Fabian Castillo on the second attempt and the Colombian forward scooped his effort over LA 'keeper Donovan Ricketts and inside the far post for his first MLS goal.
  • Landon Donovan replied five minutes later to draw the Galaxy level. Juninho played a cutting ball toward the back post, and both Donovan and Zach Loyd crashed toward the goalframe, but Donovan looked to get in the final touch as he slid behind Loyd before banging into the woodwork.
  • The match was delayed for a hour with just a few minutes of regulation time remaining after lightning rolled in.
  • But FCD struck quickly after the game restarted. Brek Shea sent a curling cross from the left that floated over Ricketts and into the far side of the net for the 88th-minute winner.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Empire Field. Eric Avila came into the lineup in place of the injured David Ferreira.
  • FC DALLAS (4-1-3-1-1): Kevin Hartman - Jackson Goncalves, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez (Zach Loyd 36) - Daniel Hernandez - Marvin Chavez, Andrew Jacobson, Brek Shea - Eric Avila (Ricardo Villar 69) - Fabian Castillo (Eric Alexander 90).

TEAM NEWS

  • It was an emotional victory for FC Dallas, in their first match after 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira was lost for the season with a broken leg.
  • “It was big,” FCD captain Daniel Hernandez said. “It was one of those games where we just had to dig deep. It was the first game without our MVP. Guys had to step up. We didn't know what kind of performance we'd be able to give, but the most important thing was that we had to figure out a way to win.”
  • There was talk of a change in systems by FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman before the match, but he opted to a straight swap with Eric Avila filling the underneath striker role as Ferreira had played.
  • “On the chalkboard, in the locker room and in the coaches’ meetings? Yes,” Hyndman said. “Does that translate onto the field? I’m not quite sure. It makes sense not having a player like David there, not having a player who can carry that load. But it’s also a change of system, and that may take more than two or three days of training.”
  • Avila made his first start in league play since the season opener, playing 69 minutes before he was replaced Ricardo Villar, who made his first appearance since March 26.
  • “I’m not really trying to replace him, but I am trying to put my stamp on [the position], to show I can play with the first team and hang,” he said, “Schellas has been giving me more confidence to give it as much as I can for as long as I can. Effort is a lot of my game. If I do start, I’ll try to go as hard as I can as long as I can.”
  • Shea scored his first goal of the season from the left-sided midfield role. He has also figured at left back this season, and started the season in central defense.
  • "Now, what we don’t want to do is keep moving him from wing midfield to defense. But I really thought Brek had a very good game the other day. I thought he had some very good moments. I don’t know if we have anybody on the team who can do what Brek does in that midfield role,” Hyndman said to ESPNDallas.com. “If we had a ton of talent on our team, we probably would move Brek to left back. That’s a great place for him. But right now, he’s just doing so much for us, I think we need to keep looking at him in that position.”
  • Colombian youth international Fabian Castillo scored his first MLS goal, giving FC Dallas the lead. After scoring, Castillo ran over to the FC Dallas bench and held aloft David Ferreira’s jersey, displaying it to the Pizza Hut Park crowd, for his countryman and FCD star who is out for the season with a broken leg.
  • “It’s big because of the way we did it,” midfielder Andrew Jacobson said. “We had to keep ourselves sharp and focused through the delay, but we knew we wanted to win. Everyone pushed really hard. It’s not like we bunkered back on defense. We came and pushed, and it fell for us.”
  • FC Dallas then saw another injury hit in the first half against LA, with left back Jair Benitez going down after a half-hour after colliding with goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, He is listed as out for the D.C. match.
  • “There is nothing structurally that we understand that is wrong but it’s strain on the ligaments [on the lateral side]. So there’s some strain there,” Hyndman said to ESPNDallas.com. “There’s going to be a little time to recover and rehab and then some mobility. We have no idea what that prognosis is going to be.”