preview: d.c. united vs toronto fc

Preview: D.C. United vs. Toronto FC

D.C. United welcomes Toronto FC back to RFK Stadium tonight for the second meeting of the season (7:00 p.m. ET). Sitting next-from-bottom in the Eastern Conference at 4-12-8, Toronto will look to find its form after two consecutive losses. United, meanwhile, comes into the game with a 3-17-4 mark but has recently put together a string of improved performances.

Last time the clubs met, Toronto edged the Black-and-Red 2-1 with a goal from Robert Earnshaw and an own goal from defender Daniel Woolard. Even with a penalty kick from Dwayne De Rosario and a majority of the game’s chances, D.C. struggled to convert its opportunities.

Now, with an offense that’s beginning to find its rhythm, United will look to exact a measure of revenge and get back to winning ways. D.C.’s most recent result came in a 2-1 defeat at the Montreal Impact on Aug. 17, as Marco Di Vaio scored twice to cancel out Conor Doyle’s well-placed finish. Still, the Black-and-Red has found success in recent weeks with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals and a 3-1 League win over Montreal.

While Toronto is only seven points ahead of United in the standings, Head Coach Ben Olsen reiterated his focus on getting results—not the Eastern Conference table.

“I’m just looking at it in a way where if we start winning games and get that winning mentality, then that stuff will happen—moving up in the standings, and there are things that follow that," said Olsen. "But [winning games] is more of our focus.”

After a difficult start to the season, Toronto has gone 2-2-1 in its past five games, including wins over Columbus and New England. Most recently, the Canadian side fell to the Crew 2-0 on Aug. 17, conceding twice to Federico Higuain and surrendering 19 shots on the night. Despite being blanked by Columbus, Toronto’s balanced attack of Earnshaw and Jonathan Osorio has produced 11 goals this season while Jeremy Brockie has contributed three assists and former U.S. international Bobby Convey has provided two.  

Former Toronto attacker Luis Silva, who featured in 44 games before moving to United, will be facing TFC for the first time tonight. However, Olsen said that he’ll be telling Silva to treat it just like any other game.

“He’s doing exactly what we want him to be doing at this point," said Olsen. "Playing against Toronto doesn’t mean he has to try and do too much. He just has to continue to get his teammates involved and when he gets his opportunities, make sure they end up in the net.”   

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