DCU_2022-MatchPreview_ENG-Web-JUNE25

The month-long wait comes to an end on Saturday. Finally. 

MLS action returns to Audi Field for the first time since May 21 when D.C. United host Nashville SC at 5 p.m. ET, broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.  

All eyes will be on this nationally televised matchup as the Black-and-Red look to close the gap between them and the playoff line. Three points in front of the D.C. United faithful against a strong Western Conference side could be the momentum swing they need as the season’s halfway mark approaches.  

A tough opponent stands in their way, however. Nashville (6-5-5, W-D-L) sit 6th in the Western Conference and are keen to keep climbing this weekend. 

Scouting Report 

Nashville have been consistent playoff contenders since coming into the league in 2020. Their move from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference hasn’t changed that. 

Last Sunday, they suffered their first home defeat since Nov. 4, 2020 ending a 22-match regular season run, including two wins against D.C. That streak couldn’t have been possible without their two dangermen C.J. Sapong (5 goals, 3 assists), and Hany Mukhtar (6 goals, 5 assists). 

“They’re a very good team in the counterattack,” D.C. United head coach Chad Ashton said during his pre-match press conference. “Mukhtar is as dangerous as any guy in this league.” 

But they’ve been less of a force on the road, dropping points in 6 of their 10 away fixtures. They’ll have to deal with a couple of dangermen in Black-and-Red, as well.

Ola Kamara and Taxi Fountas have combined for 11 goals of their own this season. On Saturday, they look to add to that tally and help bring D.C. Untied its first victory over Nashville. 

Last Time Out 

The Black-and-Red are coming off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Chicago Fire FC.  

When asked about the team’s mindset on Tuesday, D.C. United head coach Chad Ashton said the team was still ticked off at the result. He hopes to see that translates into the team playing “with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder–a little anger.” 

But again, that match was a tale of two halves for the Black-and-Red. This week, according to Ashton, was about fixing the mistakes from the first half in Chicago and fine tuning the positives from the second half. 

"Now it’s about character,” Norwegian forward Ola Kamara said on Tuesday. “When things don’t go right, how do we turn it. That requires real character and that’s what we’re focusing on, because we need to win now.” 

With a busy July and August schedule on the horizon, there’s no time to look back. Getting a good result against a good side at home is the only thing that the Black-and-Red will want after 90 minutes on Saturday. 

“I think the pressure is on us,” Kamara said. “But I think we can handle it.” 

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