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Preview: D.C. United vs Toronto FC

Black-and-Red looking for fourth consecutive victory at RFK

MLS MATCHDAY 14

D.C. United vs Toronto FC

Saturday, May 19 - 7:30 PM ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet

Toronto FC comes to RFK on Saturday night with asunimpressive a record as there is in Major League Soccer.  Eight games, eight league losses andjust six goals for tell the story of a season gone wrong north of the border.

Just don’t bother telling that story to D.C. United. 

“I think it is actually a tougher match for us because oftheir struggles,” United midfielder Marcelo Saragosa said in a Spanish languageinterview after Friday’s training session.  “They are going to be desperate to get three points.  We have to come out strong in our houseand make sure we match their emotion.”

Though they have yet to win in MLS play, TFC did experiencesome joy midweek while escaping Vancouver with a 1-1 draw in the first leg ofthe Canadian Cup final.  The resultsets Aron Winter’s side up well for the return leg at BMO Field, and provided confidence for a club that desperately needed some.

“Yeah.  I feelso,” forward Ryan Johnson responded when asked if the TFC’s recent success in Canada's domestic tournament was a sign of good things to come.  “We’re defending well and we arecreating a lot of opportunities like we normally have been.  I think things have been turning aroundin the positive direction.”

Toronto’s last defeat actually came at the hands of theBlack-and-Red when D.C. took a 2-0 win at BMO Field back on May 5.  After the match, multiple TFC playersvoiced their concerns over the hosts’ overwhelmingly defensive posture againstUnited.  Johnson was one of thoseexpressing his displeasure with the tactics, and the dangerous forward expectsa different attitude when the Reds take the field on Saturday.

“I think if we push forward and make them [make] mistakes, Ithink their backline will [make] enough mistakes for us to capitalize on,” Johnsonadded.  “I think that is one of thepoints that we can emphasize going into this game.”

Johnson’s confidence may be based on the makeshiftappearance of D.C.’s defense, but Ben Olsen’s back four has been especiallysolid of late.  Since allowing fivegoals in San Jose, United has seen its net pierced just once over the club’slast three matches.  Daniel Woolardhas been paramount during the stretch as the versatile defender is – despiteplaying out of position – doing extremely well alongside Brandon McDonald inthe center of the Black-and-Red defense.

“A lot has been written about [Toronto] not getting anypoints in league yet but they have some very capable players,” United veteranJosh Wolff acknowledged ahead of Saturday’s encounter.  “For us it’s about not allowing this tobe their opportunity to pick up any points.”

» ANALYSIS: Breaking down FC Dallas

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REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. MLS Career: 11 games; FC/gm: 22.9; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 2; pens: 9
SAR (bench): James Conlee; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: John McCloskey

INJURY REPORT:

  • D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); GK Joe Willis (eye contusion); DF Robbie Russell (L hamstring); DOUBTFUL: MF Nick DeLeon (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Emiliano Dudar (L hamstring strain); DF Dejan Jakovic (L ankle sprain); FW Chris Pontius (gluteus minimus strain); FW Maicon Santos (L calf strain); MF Marcelo Saragosa (R soleus strain)
  • TORONTO FC - OUT: FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); DOUBTFUL: DF Miguel Aceval (L quadriceps strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); DF Torsten Frings (shoulder sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius ... TOR: Julian de Guzman

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (13 meetings): United 8 wins, 28 goals ... Toronto FC 3 wins, 17 goals ... Ties 2
  • AT RFK STADIUM (6 meetings): United 3 wins, 19 goals ... Toronto FC 1 win, 13 goals ... Ties 2
  • FUTURE MATCH: 10/6: Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 1 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. On May 5, Chris Pontius and Hamdi Salihi scored second-half goals to give United a 2-0 win at BMO Field.
  • Toronto FC have not played a league match since the loss to D.C. United will have played twice since the trip to TFC.
  • D.C. United have won on their last three trips to BMO Field. In seven trips all-time to Toronto, United have come away with victories in five.
  • Toronto FC have come away with points on their last three trips to RFK Stadium. They've played to 3-3 draws in two of those, wrapped around a 3-2 win in 2010.
  • Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. TOR: P5 W3 L1 D1 ... Aron Winter vs. DC: P3 W0 L2 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS):

  • 5/5: TOR 0, DC 2 (Pontius 55; Salihi 75)
  • Seconds after a handball on the line appeared to have kept out a United goal, the visitors struck. Chris Pontius took a pass outside the area and lashed a left-footed rocket into the top left corner for the 55th-minute opener.
  • United's Hamdi Salihi, who came on as a substitute in the 71st minute, put the game away in the 75th in the wake of a corner kick. After the initial set piece was cleared, Brandon McDonald headed the ball back into the area, and Salihi fired it home expertly from a half-turn.
  • TORONTO FC (4-3-3): Milos Kocic - Richard Eckersley, Doneil Henry, Miguel Aceval, Ashtone Morgan - Julian de Guzman, Torsten Frings (Jeremy Hall 67), Luis Silva (Joao Plata 46) - Reggie Lambe, Ryan Johnson, Eric Avila.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Andy Najar, Daniel Woolard, Brandon McDonald, Chris Korb - Danny Cruz, Perry Kitchen, Lewis Neal (Branko Boskovic 46) - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos (Hamdi Salihi 71), Chris Pontius (Stephen King 65).