Following an impressive 4-0 result against Vancouver on Saturday for the first victory of the season, the mood around the D.C. United camp is decidedly upbeat. The Black-and-Red put in a dominant performance against the Whitecaps, displaying a level of urgency unseen previously this season as they relentlessly attacked the opponents’ goal. Fabián Espíndola and Álvaro Saborío, both of whom netted braces in the win, were named to the MLS Team of the Week, while Espíndola was also named the MLS Player of the Week and Luciano Acosta, who provided the assists for both of Saborío’s goals, was named to the TOTW bench.
Signs that the offense is beginning to gel as of late are evident in the confident and creative play the team displayed on Saturday--something which pleased head coach Ben Olsen. “Satisfaction is a good word...when we play like that, we are a very talented team,” Olsen said. “And when we play as a team, on both sides of the ball, then we will get results.”
The Black-and-Red come into this weekend’s match against Toronto FC hoping to continue their winning ways and come away with a second victory in as many weeks against a Canadian club--so optimal focus and dedication will be paramount.
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“Every team is beatable,” midfielder Nick DeLeon said. “We can build off last week’s win and be in a good spot to take it to Toronto on Saturday.”
Toronto, meanwhile, have picked up just a point in their last three games after 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution on Saturday, and are in the midst of a grueling eight-match away stretch to start their campaign. Reigning league MVP Sebastian Giovinco has looked frustrated in front of goal for much of 2016, but returned to the scoresheet on Saturday, notching the team’s equalizer off a Jozy Altidore assist. The chemistry between Giovinco and U.S. internationals Altidore and Michael Bradley will be key for Toronto as they look to improve their form going forward.
United are 12-7-4 against Toronto all-time and their last win was a 3-0 victory at RFK in July of 2014. Five members of the starting eleven from that match--Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Sean Franklin, Chris Rolfe, and Nick DeLeon--are likely to suit up against Toronto again on Saturday.
Kickoff for D.C. United vs. Toronto FC is set for 5:00 PM ET. The match will be broadcast live on NewsChannel 8.