In a rare Saturday afternoon matchup at RFK Stadium, D.C. United will look to extend its impressive 19-game unbeaten streak at home. With the Columbus Crew and D.C. United coming into Saturday’s matchup at 1-1-1, both will be undoubtedly looking to break through and create some separation in the Eastern Conference table. Here are your VW Keys to the Match:
It’s no surprise that RFK is one of the hardest places to play in the League, but D.C. United – and its fans – will need to continue to make this a fortress to play in. In 2012, United captured the most home points (40) of any team in the League and boasted an MLS second-best +20 goal differential on home turf. Fans need to be loud, and the Black-and-Red needs to continue to do what it does best at RFK.
Watchful eyes on Higuaín
Federico Higuaín came to Major League Soccer a little over six months ago as a Designated Player and made an immediate impact with the Columbus Crew. The Argentine forward tallied five goals and assisted on seven others in just 13 games played last year en route to winning 2012’s MLS Newcomer of the Year award. Higuain hasn’t seemed to stop there, already tallying a goal and assist in three games this year. With Jairo Arrieta away on national team duty for Costa Rica, it will be expected that the 28-year old Argentine will have an increased role in playmaking against D.C. United.
Put in the defensive work
With central defender Dejan Jakovic away with the Canadian Men’s National Team, United’s stingy defense will need to gel quickly. Whether it’s Daniel Woolard or Ethan White stepping in for Jakovic, leaders like Homegrown goalkeeper Bill Hamid and center back Brandon McDonald will need to ensure that the defensive unit stays organized like it has done already this season. The Black-and-Red is currently riding a two-match shutout streak and is the only team in MLS with two clean sheets on the season.
Both teams will have to make due without regulars in the lineup Saturday – United will be missing Dejan Jakovic (Canada) and Marcos Sanchez (Panama), while the Crew will be without Jairo Arrieta (Costa Rica).