Preview: D.C. United at Toronto FC
MLS MATCHDAY 11
TORONTO FC vs D.C. UNITED
Saturday, May 5 - 4:00 PM ET
TV: CSN+ / CSN
After seeing the club's seven-match unbeatenstreak snapped in San Jose, it's unlikely D.C. United was in need of any extramotivation heading into Saturday's road showdown with Toronto FC. The winless hosts' manager served someup nonetheless.
According to Sun Media's Kurtis Larson, AronWinter said on Friday that he had no regrets over letting go of current Unitedstars Dwayne De Rosario and Maicon Santos during a 2011 campaign in which theDutchman overhauled Toronto's roster. Both players had worn the captain's armband for Winter before beingtraded away.
Given the chance to respond later on Fridayafternoon, De Rosario had little interest in the comments of his former coach.
"I'll let my play do the talking," United's captain answered when asked about what Winter had said.
What De Rosario did show an interest indiscussing was the critical nature of Saturday's match. Before Wednesday's result in San Jose,United hadn't felt the sting of defeat since losing to Los Angeles in mid-March. Though the quick turnaround will test D.C.'sdepth, it also provides the Black-and-Red with a chance for immediateredemption.
"I think there were a lot of positives from Wednesday," De Rosario noted. "We managed to produce some good soccer. Three goals away from home is not easy. Unfortunately we gave up some goals that we are not too happy about. But we will work that out."
Both sides will be looking for improvedperformances from defensive units that have been pierced regularly oflate. Toronto has allowed aleague-high 16 goals in 2012 and continues to see constant shuffling along itsback line. Milos Kocic has beenthe one constant along Winter's back line, as the former D.C. goalie is tiedfor fourth in MLS with 28 saves through his first seven matches.
Hurt more by injuries than poor form, United'sdefense has struggled as well. TheBlack-and-Red have conceded 15 goals in 2012, thanks to a total lack ofcontinuity at the back. OnWednesday in San Jose, both Perry Kitchen and Robbie Russell were forced toabandon their preferred positions to fill in centrally where the absence ofEmiliano Dudar, Dejan Jakovic and Ethan White has made for a state of emergencyalong the back line.
"We've got to survive," Olsen said Wednesday night while lamenting the injuries that have ripped apart hisdefense. "There are a lot ofteams with players out at key positions, you just have to make it work."
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday from Toronto's BMOField. The match will be televisedlive on Comcast SportsNet Plus with Dave Johnson and John Harkes on the call.
» ANALYSIS: Breaking down TFC