A familiar story will be played out on Saturday in Washington, D.C., as one of the oldest, most cliched questions in sports could be answered, if only for a day: attack or defense?
D.C. United and the league's hottest attack welcome FC Dallas and the league's hottest defense to the nation's capital (4:55 pm ET | Univision, Twitter - full TV and streaming info). In their last four games, FCD have conceded just one singular goal while D.C. have scored 12 times in their last four games. Both teams are undefeated during those periods.
“When you have a team that can do the right things defensively then you can be very optimistic of their result knowing that we’re strong also with going forward,” Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said. “It’s good to see them getting the clean sheets and getting the zero is important.”
FCD sit atop the Western Conference, four points ahead of both Sporting Kansas City and LAFC. Earning a positive result on the road against a surging D.C. side would go a long way to holding onto the top spot in the West. D.C., as has been well-covered, are now just two points behind the Montreal Impact for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot with two games in hand. They'll cash in one of those extra games on Saturday.
“We just have to keep pushing,” D.C. head coach Ben Olsen said. “We have another ‘most important game of the season’ next weekend. And that’s just kind of how it's going to roll for the rest of the year, and that’s okay. I trust our guys are up for it."
Wayne Rooney and Lucho Acosta have been the impetus behind the club's offensive outburst since the Englishman arrived stateside, but they are far from the only act. Paul Arriola and Yamil Asad give the attack width, and tactical stability comes from Russell Canouse and Junior Moreno.
Matt Hedges & Co. will have a lot to deal with Saturday, but if anyone can cool down United, it's the FCD defense. Regardless, the game shapes up to be can't-miss action amid this weekend's light slate.