Preview: D.C. United at Real Salt Lake
MLS MATCHDAY 27
D.C. United at Real Salt Lake
Saturday, September 1 - 9:00 PM ET
TV: CSN Washington channel listing
Few D.C. United players know the Black-and-Red’s weekendopponent better than Robbie Russell.
The veteran defender landed in D.C. last November after RealSalt Lake traded him in an attempt to clear space under the salary cap. Russell’s four seasons with RSL –whichinclude an MLS championship run in 2009 – provided the defender with anintimate understanding of what awaits United when the two sides meet onSaturday.
“They’ll high press the hell out of us the entire time andgo one-hundred miles per hour,” said Russell, who is back at practice aftermissing more than a month with a foot injury. “They’ll use that altitude to their advantage so – even ifthey don’t get a goal in the first half – they push until they get one in the second. That is usually their M.O. at home.”
As Russell states, much of Salt Lake’s recent success hasbeen built on the club’s form at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are 9-4-1 this year at home, but have seen some of theirinvincibility as hosts wane. Consecutive home losses in June came as a shock to most pundits, and arecent defeat to Dallas furthered concerns that Jason Kreis’ team was sufferinga rare mid-summer slump.
Unfortunately for D.C., road results have proved elusivethis season. The Black-and-Redhaven’t earned a point away from RFK since June 16, when they toppedPhiladelphia at PPL Park.
“We’ve discussed it inside the locker room,” midfielderMarcelo Saragosa said Thursday in a Spanish language interview. “I was talking to some of the otherguys and the attitude we have to take on the road has to be different. It’s not something that is easy to do,but we must change our attitudes.”
In addition to a change in attitude, United must contain atalented Salt Lake midfield. KyleBeckerman and Javier Morales are keeping forward Alvaro Saborio well fed. The Costa Rican international is tiedfor second in MLS with 14 goals this year.
If D.C. are to limit RSL’s attack, they’ll have to do so ontired legs. Saturday’s contestwill be the fifth for Ben Olsen’s side in the last twelve days.
“We kind of like it to be honest with you,” Brandon McDonaldsaid of the cramped schedule. “Wedon’t have to sit around and wait weeks and weeks to play a game. When it’sback to back you can forget about things if they go bad. The NY result is something we have toget over quick and facing RSL is the perfect challenge.”
» ANALYSIS: Volkswagen Keys to the Match