WASHINGTON – When D.C. United and Toronto faced off back in April, DC registered an impressive 3-0 win at BMO Field.
However, United know that that result can’t be taken into account as the two teams prepare to play again at RFK Stadium Saturday night (7:30pm ET, watch LIVE online). The Toronto side traveling to the nation’s capital looks almost nothing like the one that DC defeated a few months ago.
“It’s definitely not the same team we played earlier,” defender Perry Kitchen said. “[They have made] tons of changes and they’re hungry for wins too just like we are.”
Of the 14 TFC players who saw action that day, only seven remain on the current roster, and even fewer are regular starters. The club brought in some firepower with the acquisition of forwards Danny Koevermans and Ryan Johnson, along with former German international Torsten Frings to hold down the midfield.
One of the changes – albeit prior to the last time the two teams played – was sending Dwayne De Rosario to New York, before the Canadian international wound up donning the Red and Black in June.
Saturday’s game will mark the third time this season he’ll play against an old club. It’ll be a chance yet again to punish a former team, as he penciled his name onto the score sheet in both his match against the New York Red Bulls and San Jose Earthquakes.
“I’m looking forward to it,” De Rosario said this week. “It’s a game [from which] we need three points – we can’t look past them.”
Toronto come into this weekend dealing with a busy week of travel, having made the round-trip journey to Nicaragua for a CONCACAF Champions League qualifier on Tuesday. With that in mind, DC plan on taking the game to the visitors like they did last weekend on the road when they downed the Earthquakes 2-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
“If we go out [and play] the way we did against San Jose, pressuring them all over the field, [then] we should be alright,” De Rosario said.
The midfielder has helped drive DC’s offense since arriving, but the team still needs to improve results on their home turf. While they’ve managed a respectable 4-3-3 record on the road, the 2-3-5 mark at RFK Stadium isn’t quite up to par for a team with playoff aspirations.
“I don’t want to make too much out of it,” head coach Ben Olsen said. “We are getting results on the road. I don’t think we’re getting enough credit for the road results because our home results haven’t been great. We’re building, we’re getting there slowly.”
The three DC players previously struggling with concussions – Santino Quaranta, Devon McTavish and Joe Ngwenya – will all be in the mix this weekend, according to assistant coach Chad Ashton.
It’s more likely the former two, McTavish and Quaranta, will see at least some time in Sunday’s reserve match against Toronto, while Ngwenya would only be available in the first team fixture because he picked up a red card in DC’s last reserve match.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.