Two-game road trip to test DC's impressive away record
WASHINGTON — Two games in four days always provides a challenge, particularly, when they’re on the road.
But unlike most MLS sides, D.C. United actually seem to enjoy packing their bags and printing their boarding passes. This week, United will put their 4-3-3 road mark — the only winning away record in the Eastern Conference — on the line when they travel to face the Chicago Fire on Thursday (9 pm ET, ESPN2) and Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
“We’ve been very efficient on the road, and you go to a place like Chicago where it’ll be tough, they have a lot of ties,” forward Josh Wolff said. “But again, we have our mentality and our approach on the road I think it’s shown that we can garner the results.”
That mentality — the combination of tenacious defending and timely goal scoring — has made life away from RFK Stadium a highlight this season. The club enters this week with the highest point total (15) and number of wins (four) of any team in the East. Their last loss on the road was a 4-1 defeat at Houston way back on April 29.
And while the team will have to cope with playing two games in a short stretch, coach Ben Olsen will be able to present more looks than usual. The entire squad, minus Jed Zayner (left knee sprain), Branko Boskovic (left ACL tear) and rookie goalkeeper Joe Willis (back spasms), were in training this week, including forward Joe Ngwenya (concussion) and midfielder Kurt Morsink (ankle), who both returned to full training.
“It’s great, giving me a lot of options,” Olsen said, adding a note of caution: “With a lot of options comes guys that aren’t always as happy because they’re not seeing time, which is part of it.”
United are currently in sixth place in the East, tied on 30 points with Sporting KC and currently on the outside of the playoff picture.
“We’d like to move up in the East,” Olsen said. “We’d like to be up in one of the three when it’s playoff time and not have to deal with all the crunching numbers and factoring in. We start with Chicago, and then we’ll deal with KC after that.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.