D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew SC | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Ola Kamara - Columbus Crew SC - Celebrate

D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew SC
2017 MLS Regular Season - Week 3
RFK Stadium - Washington, D.C.
Saturday, March 18 - 7 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE, Newschannel 8 (DC), Spectrum OH (CLB), CW-Columbus (CLB)

Still yet to score a goal in 2017, D.C. United will be a team on a mission to right the ship after a 4-0 loss at NYCFC in Week 2. Also winless after two matches, visiting Columbus Crew SC, 3-1 losers in Week 2, are not exactly looking to make up the numbers. Just listen to what their top scorer Ola Kamara (16 goals in 2016) said about the team's final trip to RFK Stadium as D.C. look to open their new stadium in 2018: 

“We’re confident in our style of play and we know we’re better than that [3-1 loss in Houston]," Kamara told media on Monday. "So it’s not going to be a problem. We’re going to go out to Washington and win.”

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D.C. United

United are hoping to avoid making history by opening a season with a third straight shutout for the first time ever. The question is whether they can do it without playmaker Luciano Acosta on the field. The Argentine creative midfielder, who is recovering from an ankle ailment, reportedly participated in limited training on Monday and added to his load on Wednesday. He's still considered day-to-day.

Projected Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Bill Hamid – Nick DeLeon, Steve Birnbaum, Sean Franklin, Taylor Kemp – Marcelo Sarvas – Lloyd Sam, Ian Harkes, Jared Jeffrey, Patrick Nyarko – Patrick Mullins

Notes: It seems unlikely that Acosta will start this match, meaning that it'll be up to second-year player Julian Buescher or rookie Ian Harkes, who have filled in for him over the first two matches.

Columbus Crew SC

Creating scoring chances won't be a problem for Crew SC: They've registered more passes, more shots on goal, more corners and more crosses than the two teams they've faced thus far in 2017. The issue lies on defense and Crew SC's ability to eliminate the errors and lapses which have afforded quality looks at goal to their opponents. But it won't help that they'll be without suspended Ghanaian international center back Jonathan Mensah at RFK.

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Zack Steffen – Harrison Afful, Josh Williams, Nicolai Naess, Jukka Raitala — Artur, Wil Trapp – Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram – Ola Kamara

Notes: Manager Gregg Berhalter will likely replace the suspended Mensah with one of veteran Josh Williams, 2017 SuperDraft pick Lalas Abubakar or Homegrown rookie Alex Crognale. For both Abubakar and Crognale, an appearance would mark their MLS debut ... If starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen can't go because of the sore left shoulder, then backup Brad Stuver would be next in line.

All-Time Series

RFK Stadium has historically been a house of horrors for Crew SC, who have racked up 20 losses in 33 all-time regular season visits. Their fortunes have turned around of late with four of Crew SC's nine all-time wins at RFK coming in their last 10 visits dating back to 2010.

D.C. United have only beaten Crew SC twice in their last 10 MLS regular season matchups (2W-5L-3D), although they have held Columbus scoreless in three of their last four home matches at RFK Stadium.

  • Overall (64 matches): D.C. United 27 wins (89 goals) … Crew SC 26 wins (93 goals) … 11 Ties
  • At RFK Stadium (33 matches): D.C. United 20 wins (63 goals) … Crew SC 9 wins (43 goals) … 4 Ties


Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski (bench side), Andrew Bigelow (far side)
Fourth Official: Jorge Gonzalez