Preview: D.C. United vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

D.C. United hosts Vancouver Whitecaps FC tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET (Comcast SportsNet). After winning its last two games, Vancouver sits in 5th in the Western Conference with a record of 6-4-5. Much like United, the visitors are hoping to continue their good run of form.

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The clubs have met just three times since Vancouver joined MLS in 2011, with the teams splitting the series 1-1-1. D.C.’s best result against Whitecaps FC was a 4-0 win at RFK during the visitors’ inaugural season, as Chris Pontius scored twice and Dwayne De Rosario bagged two assists.

Vancouver’s most recent action came in a 3-1 victory over Chivas USA on June 19. Camilo Sanvezzo, who leads the team in scoring with eight goals, netted twice and Jordan Harvey provided the home side’s third. Whitecaps FC has now scored at least two goals in each of its last six games while posting a record of 4-1-1. Former Celtic and Rangers striker Kenny Miller is the team’s second-leading scorer with five goals on the season.

On Wednesday, United defeated the New England Revolution 3-1 to advance to the U.S. Open Cup semi-finals for the ninth time in club history. Pontius, De Rosario and Lionard Pajoy all found the back of the net for the Black-and-Red, who improved to 3-1-1 in its last five matches across all competitions.

In league play, D.C. earned a much needed three points with last week’s 1-0 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes. On the back of a Pontius penalty kick and a strong showing by Bill Hamid and the defense, United snapped a 13-game winless streak and moved within three points of Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference.

DCU has seen its fair share of injuries in 2013, but head coach Ben Olsen is pleased about the team’s direction and the contributions of his younger players.

 “I’m excited about the last couple of weeks, and we’ve seen [the team] moving in the right direction. These guys deserve a little bit of joy right now. It’s been a tough time, and we seem to have [regained] our health. Some young guys are also stepping in and doing the job.”

Olsen also commended Pontius and De Rosario’s play on the front line against New England.

“We had some good attacks, some creativity – I attribute that to Dwayne [De Rosario] and Chris [Pontius]. I thought they did a good job just being a little bit more unpredictable than usual. Dwayne looks like he’s back in-form, and that’s a big deal for us.”

Olsen added that he liked Pontius as a forward over the last two games—matches in which he’s scored, and D.C. has won.

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