MLS MATCHDAY 7
D.C. United vs Montreal Impact
Wednesday, April 18 - 7:30 PM ET
It will be a showdown of young coaches on Wednesdaynight, when D.C. United welcomes Montreal to RFK Stadium. Unfortunately for Jesse Marsch, therookie taskmaster brings with him a side that has won just once in its firstseven MLS matches while conceding more goals than any other side in the league.
But despite the visitors’ struggles, the Black-and-Red havelittle reason to relax as they try - yet again – to win consecutive matches for the first time in nearlythree years. The distressingstreak has been discussed ad nauseam in and around RFK, and United’s playersare ready to put an end to it.
“It was stressed so much last year that I think people areaware of [the streak], but we don’t put too much on it.” forward Josh Wolffsaid earlier this week when asked about D.C.’s inability to win back-to-backgames since June of 2009. “I don’tthink we are going into [Wednesday] saying we’ve got to break this streak, butit would be nice to get two in a row just so you guys would stop making a storyout of it.”
Though Montreal may appear to be the perfect opponentagainst which to finally break through, the Impact won’t make for an easy finalhurdle. In taking after theircoach and captain Davy Arnaud, Montreal employs a gritty, physical style thatfrequently frustrates – and at times infuriates – opponents. The Impact have been whistled for 112fouls so far in 2012, a whopping 25 more infractions than any other MLS team.
“[Montreal] is a dangerous team to play against,” said Chris Pontius, fresh off scoring his first goal of the season overthe weekend in New England. “Youknow they are playing for more being at the bottom of the table so you can’tthink that this team isn’t going to come out and give one-hundred percent. We’ve got to be ready from openingkickoff.”
While coaches often prefer not to have mid-week matches,Wednesday’s tilt may actually come at a convenient time for Ben Olsen. Against New England, injuries andtiming denied D.C.’s 34-year-old coach an opportunity to get either Andy Najaror Branko Boskovic onto the field. Though wholesale changes to a starting eleven that has gone unbeatenover its last four matches are unlikely, Olsen acknowledged on Tuesday that henow has more talent than minutes available.
“I do think about it a lot. I’ve had some tough decisions to make,” Olsen admittedduring an appearance on the Capital Soccer Show. “You look at six or seven positions on the field and you canmake an argument that the guy that is sitting on the bench should bestarting. It’s a good problem tohave, it really is.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 Wednesday night at RFKStadium. With a win, United wouldleapfrog New York and overtake sole possession of second place in the EasternConference standings.
» ANALYSIS: Breaking down Montreal Impact