United on mission to bring down Rio Tinto
WASHINGTON — The last time D.C. United hit the road, a two game road trip to Portland and Los Angeles yielded four points.
On Saturday night, DC will look to continue success away from the nation’s capital, this time against Real Salt Lake (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online). To achieve that, Ben Olsen’s men will look to emulate the efforts of two weeks ago.
“Our stance and the ideas we’re going to come with aren’t too different than what we had on the road previously,” forward Josh Wolff said. “We’re going to be physical, going to be tough, we’re going to get our guys in behind the ball, try to keep it, and get after it when we can.”
D.C. United have never won a game at Rio Tinto Stadium since it opened back in 2008, and they haven’t defeated Real Salt Lake on the road since 2005. Last year’s trip out to Utah on July 31 was a 3-0 defeat that marked the end of former coach Curt Onalfo’s tenure with the club and soon after the beginning of Olsen’s interim tag.
And while RSL may no longer carry the same aura of invincibility they had with their 29-game home unbeaten streak that was snapped a month ago, there’s a big challenge ahead for the men in black.
“It’s not easy to play there,” midfielder Chris Pontius said. “I know their streak’s not intact anymore, but they’re still a good team.”
Adding fuel to DC’s effort is a desire to bounce back after getting beat handily by San Jose last weekend. The 4-2 loss stung, especially in front of a home crowd. However, the club has already shown the ability to rebound and put together a good performance after a heavy defeat, having already done so back in early May.
“We’re a bounce back-type team,” 'keeper Bill Hamid said. “We have one or two bad performances, we know what we need to do, harp on it, and fix it. We’re excited, training well and ready to get back out there.”
When they do take the field, it’ll be about putting together a team effort to try and come away with a positive result.
“We have to have a real commitment from everybody,” Wolff said. “Front to back, staying tight with everybody like we did in Portland and LA. We’ve got to take care of what we bring to the table. If we do that, I think a result’s there, be it a tie or a win.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark