DC motivated by big loss in reverse fixture vs. Houston

D.C. United host Houston Dynamo on Saturday

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WASHINGTON – Last time D.C. United faced Houston, it wasn’t a pretty result for the Black-and-Red. Down at Robertson Stadium, rookie Will Bruin manhandled DC’s back line, scoring a hat trick en route to a 4-1 Dynamo win back in April.

When the two sides face off against each other Saturday night at RFK Stadium, it’ll be an opportunity for DC to show Houston things won’t be the same this time around.

“They physically destroyed us last time, so we have to come out and show them we’re not going to let them knock us around the field this time,” defender Ethan White said.

Midfielder Chris Pontius said the players were using the loss as motivation during film sessions this week.

“We’ve watched some video everyday of that game, getting the guys fired up, and we’re also mindful that we’re a different team than we were back then,” he said. “Our team is much more organized [and] defensively clean on set pieces.”

Since the game back on April 29, DC have turned things in a more positive direction, posting a 2-2-4 record. The defense has improved significantly, save for a 4-2 loss against the San Jose Earthquakes two weeks ago, pointing to the Houston loss as a big reason for change.

“We like to think that was a little bit of a turning point in the season,” head coach Ben Olsen said. “I think we’ve tightened things up, [but] we’ve had a hiccup here or there and some of them have been at home.”

They’ll face a Houston team that has trended in the opposite direction after the April result, with a record of 1-5-3 since that win. Still, the threat of Brad Davis on the left, along with big bodies up front in Will Bruin and Cam Weaver, the young DC defense will have its work cut out.

But things have gone well in training through the week according to Olsen, and it’s now about putting together the proper performance required to get the result on home turf.

“We’ve had a pretty good week, but it’s still about game day and how our mentality is on the day, if we’re ready to put a good performance on. We’re prepared and see how it goes.”

Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.