Preview: D.C. United vs Philadelphia Union

Emotions will dictate the first of three meetings between I-95 foes

MLS MATCHDAY 16

Philadelphia Union vs D.C. United

Saturday, June 16 - 7:00 PM ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet or Galavision

As different as rivals D.C. United and the PhiladelphiaUnion may try to be, there are some striking similarities in what the twoorganizations have gone through over the past couple of years.

After taking over for Curt Onalfo in early August of 2010,Ben Olsen and the Black-and-Red badly needed a win.  On a rain-soaked afternoon later that month, D.C.’sthen-interim manager earned his first career triumph over an expansion Unionside.

On Saturday, against the backdrop of embattled coach PeterNowak’s mid-week dismissal, Philadelphia interim boss John Hackworth will tryto do the same.

“We understand that there is always an emotional responsewhen you have a new coach,” Olsen said on Thursday. “In particular with a coachthat I think the team is behind. It was going to be an emotional game regardless.”

While Philadelphia’s reasons for an uptick are obvious,Olsen’s group will offer its own emotional response on Saturday.  After seeing his side eliminated fromOpen Cup by the Union last week, a disappointed Olsen vowed that both he andhis players would ‘certainly work harder’.

United’s second-year coach wasn’t bluffing.

“You can ask anybody out here and they’ll tell you yes,” Brandon McDonald replied when asked if Olsen had delivered on his post-gamepromise.  “For him, having all thesuccess he had here as a player, losing that game was hard.  I think we all realize that now.  He came out here and made it a point: weneed to start lifting trophies.”

“We are past that,” Olsen said this week. “We had somewords, we had some meetings and I think we cleared the air.  We understand when we are good and whenwe are not good and what makes us win games.  A lot of times it’s not the X’s and O’s and the soccer side,it’s the commitment.”

Perhaps more so than simple revenge, United’s players willbe driven this weekend by the chance to improve the club’s record against itsclosest rival.  D.C. has won justone of six all-time meetings with the Union, a fact that doesn’t sit well withthe Black-and-Red.

“Yeah it’s something we are aware of,” ChrisPontius said moments before boarding the team bus Friday afternoon.  “I’m looking forward to it.  It’s a rivalry that everyone recognizesand there are going to be times in the game where emotions play a big part.” 

Saturday’s match kicks off at 7:00 p.m. and will bebroadcast live on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.  D.C. United play-by-play man Dave Johnson will be joined clublegend John Harkes on the call. 

» ANALYSIS: Volkswagen keys to the match

» Create and share your starting XI

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. MLS Career: 152 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 42; pens: 57
SAR (bench): Claudio Badea; JAR (opposite): Kevin Klinger; 4th: John McCloskey

INJURY REPORT:

  • PHILADELPHIA UNION - OUT: FW Krystian Witkowski (concussion symptoms); DF Gabriel Farfan (back spasms); MF Cristhian Hernandez (R knee sprain); DF Chris Albright (R foot sprain); DOUBTFUL: DF Sheanon Williams (R big toe sprain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Chase Harrison (L ankle sprain); MF Michael Farfan (L foot contusion); FW Chandler Hoffman (L heel contusion); PROBABLE: MF Keon Daniel (L ankle sprain)
  • D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: MF Danny Cruz (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Branko Boskovic (abductor strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: PHI: Lionard Pajoy (through June 17)
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Gabriel Gomez
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Michael Farfan ... DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Union 2 wins, 8 goals ... United 1 win, 8 goals ... Ties 1
  • AT PHILADELPHIA (2 meetings): Union 2 wins, 6 goals ... United 0 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 0
  • RETURN MATCHES: 8/19: D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m. ET (NBC SN); 9/20: Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes)
  • LAST YEAR (MLS):
    7/2: DC 2, PHI 2 (Wolff 44; Najar 58 - own goal 49; Ruiz 84)
    9/29: PHI 3, DC 2 (Le Toux 4,15; M. Farfan 57 - De Rosario 22; Najar 30)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time in less than two weeks, after Union recorded a 2-1 win in a third-round U.S. Open Cup match at the Maryland Soccerplex on June 5.
  • Union have won both home meetings all-time in the series, winning 3-2 on each occasion, including in the first ever home game played by the club, April 10, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field.
  • Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. DC: first game ... Ben Olsen vs. PHI: P3 W1 L1 D1

U.S. OPEN CUP

  • Goals from Philadelphia's Brian Carroll and D.C.'s Josh Wolff right at halftime sent the match to overtime, where Antoine Hoppenot scored the game-winner five minutes into the extra session.
  • Here's United's team: Bill Hamid - Emiliano Dudar, Brandon McDonald (sent off 112), Robbie Russell, Daniel Woolard; Branko Boskovic (Marcelo Saragosa 92), Nick DeLeon (Lewis Neal 80), Perry Kitchen, Andy Najar; Hamdi Salihi, Josh Wolff (Maicon Santos 64)
  • Here's the Union team: Zac MacMath - Gabriel Farfan, Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Carlos Valdes (sent off 114); Freddy Adu, Brian Carroll, Michael Farfan, Michael Lahoud (Antoine Hoppenot 79 / Kai Herdling 105); Josue Martinez (Chandler Hoffman 71), Lionard Pajoy