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Preview: DC seeking first win as Dallas come to town

D.C. UNITED vs FC DALLAS
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
March 30, 2012 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #27)
7:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)

D.C. United return home looking for their first victory of the season when they entertain FC Dallas on Friday night at RFK Stadium before an NBC Sports Network audience. United are coming off a two-game West Coast trip that concluded with a scoreless draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC. FCD is in the second of a two-game road swing of its own, which started with a 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City last Sunday.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Andrew Chapin
MLS Career: 60 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 12; pens: 9

COMPLETE GAME GUIDE (PDF)

FLASHBACK: DC 3-3 Dallas

INJURY REPORT: D.C. UNITED  — OUT: DF Ethan White (R knee surgery); MF Kurt Morsink (L foot neurectomy); MF Lance Rozeboom (L ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dejan Jakovic (L groin strain) … FC DALLAS — OUT: FW Scott Sealy (R knee); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); QUESTIONABLE: MF Fabian Castillo (L knee); MF Ricardo Villar (bruised ribs)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DC: Andy Najar (Honduras U-23)

SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (38 meetings): United 13 wins (0 shootout), 65 goals … FC Dallas 17 wins (4 shootout), 64 goals … Ties 8

AT RFK (17 meetings): United 7 wins (0 shootout), 39 goals … FC Dallas 5 wins (2 shootout), 27 goals … Ties 5

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/7: DC 0, DAL 0
7/16: DAL 0, DC 0

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • A year ago, the teams battled through 180 minutes against each other without scoring a goal, playing to 0-0 draws both in Frisco and in Washington, D.C.
  • FC Dallas has come away with points from their last two league visits to RFK Stadium, gaining a 3-1 win in the 2010 meeting in the nation’s capital.
  • Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. DAL: P3 W0 L1 D2 … Schellas Hyndman vs. DC: P8 W3 L1 D4

PREVIEW: DC vs Dallas

D.C. UNITED

D.C. United concluded their two-game West Coast swing with their first point of 2012, a scoreless draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. United are tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 1 point from 3 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon stayed unbeaten on the season, called upon to make three saves in keeping a second clean sheet on the season.
  • D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis wasn't called upon to make a single recorded save for the game, Vancouver's best chance an Eric Hassli header that flew into the outside netting at the half-hour mark.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made five changes to the team that lost 3-1 to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Emiliano Dudar and Daniel Woolard came into the back four for Dejan Jakovic and Chris Korb, Danny Cruz and Nick DeLeon stepped into the midfield for Stephen King and Chris Pontius, and Hamdi Salihi returned to the team in place of Andy Najar.

D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Joe Willis - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar, Daniel Woolard - Danny Cruz, Marcelo Saragosa, Nick DeLeon (Chris Pontius 57) - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos (Branko Boskovic 62), Hamdi Salihi (Josh Wolff 80).

TEAM NEWS

  • After two losses to start the season, United came away with a first point of the year. Dating back to last season, United still have a nine-game winless streak alive - their last victory came Sept. 24 vs. Real Salt Lake.
     
  • “The fight was there and at times it was pretty good too, [almost] lucky enough to get out of there with three [points],” United head coach Ben Olsen said. “But at this point we’ll take one on the road. The point’s big, but what I’m happy about is the way we played.”
     
  • D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis recorded his second shutout in five career MLS starts in Saturday’s scoreless draw in Vancouver. Both clean sheets have come vs. Whitecaps FC.
     
  • Key Match-Up: Salihi vs. DAL defense

    “I think we started out well, they obviously had a little bit of danger there in the first half, but for the most part I think it was fairly even through the first half,” said Josh Wolff. “The second half turned in our favor a bit and it would've been nice to capitalize on that but it's good to get a point. I think guys’ kind of see what it's going to take to get points now.”
     

  • United have been held without a goal in two of their three games, and haven’t scored more than a goal in a game since last Sept. 29, in a 3-2 loss at Philadelphia.
     
  • “We’ve got to be a little bit sharper in the final third. Whether it’s being clinical in front of the goal or maybe being a little more dynamic or abstract in our build-up,” Olsen said. “But I thought Danny Cruz in particular tonight brought us a really nice energy.”
     
  • United will have two of their U-23 internationals in goalkeeper Bill Hamid and defender Perry Kitchen. But in the USA’s group finale draw with El Salvador that eliminated it from a berth in the London Olympics, Hamid turned an ankle, which forced him out of the game in the first half.
     
  • “It's one of those things that because of Olympic games, injuries, our lineups changed pretty much every game. It's one of those things where we're trying now to get into a rhythm, a little bit of a pattern game in game out,” said defender Robbie Russell. “Getting the same performances, the same level from everybody on the pitch, this is kind of the base line that we want to start from. Hopefully next game it will continue to get better and better.”

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas went onto the road for the first time this season and suffered a first defeat, falling 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. FCD is tied for sixth place in the Western Conference with 4 points from 3 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas became the first team to score on Sporting KC in the 25th minute, when Ricardo Villar drove home a free kick, curling his shot over Jimmy Nielsen’s wall and leaving the KC ‘keeper rooted to his line.
     
  • But SKC leveled the score 3 1/2 minutes into first-half stoppage time. From a free kick some 35 yards out from goal on the left, Graham Zusi flighted a service into the box and Aurelien Collin flicked a header into the goal.
     
  • In the 50th minute, KC had a glorious opportunity when Chance Myers broke into the area on an overlap and was brought down by Ugo Ihemelu. Kei Kamara stepped to the spot and fired toward the lower left corner, but Hartman guessed right, sprawled and tipped the ball over the endline.
     
  • But Sporting still had the final answer two minutes from the end. Myers raced onto a return pass out of midfield down the right flank and sent a rolling cross to the near post where Kamara slid in and poked home for the winner.
     
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made one change to the team that claimed a 1-1 result with the Portland Timbers at FC Dallas Stadium. With Carlos Rodriguez on international duty, George John came into the side.

FC DALLAS (4-1-4-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Hernan Pertuz - Daniel Hernandez - Bryan Leyva (Andrew Wiedeman 70), Ricardo Villar (Bobby Warshaw 46, Luis Perea 90), Andrew Jacobson, Jair Benitez - Blas Perez.

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman made the first save on a penalty kick this season, denying Sporting KC’s Kei Kamara on Sunday. For his career, Hartman has seen 14 of 53 penalties not converted against him; it’s one shy of the league record held by Nick Rimando (15 of 53).
     
  • Ricardo Villar was forced off the field at halftime with an injury. “He’s the one who has the skills and the vision to break people down, to make the right passes, to hold the ball under pressure,” said Hyndman. “Not having him out there, I thought that coming away with a point would have been a good accomplishment for our team.”
     
  • With Villar unable to continue, Bobby Warshaw made his second appearance of the season, coming into the midfield.
     
  • "It doesn’t matter who’s here or who’s not. We go out and win, and that starts from the coach down to the captains down to the other players,” Warshaw said. “After being here for a year, that’s my mentality. If you’re on the field in the red and white jersey, you expect to win.”
     
  • With Carlos Rodriguez on international duty, George John made his return to the first XI. Hernan Pertuz was moved from center back to left back, and Jair Benitez moved forward into the midfield. John did not join FCD until March 2, after being on loan with England’s West Ham United FC for two months.
     
  • “I haven’t had a lot of time with the backline. I’ve played with Ugo for the last two years now, but you still need that base to build off of, and I wasn’t here during preseason,” John said. “I came back and understood my place on the team. Hopefully, it’ll come back sooner rather than later.”
  • FC Dallas should have U.S. U-23 international Brek Shea available for the match, along with Rodriguez, after both saw their countries eliminated from contention for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
     
  • Speakins about their first defeat of the season defender Ugo Ihemelu said,“it was a disappointing game for us, but we fought. We gave up two big goals. It was just very disappointing. It’s one of those games where we feel like we should have at least came out of there with one point.”

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