D.C. United hosts Eastern Conference adversary Toronto FC tomorrow, which promises another classic battle as the three-game series between the two sides is currently split. Just four points out of first place, United is determined to earn the W at home.
"It's going to be a tough game again," said D.C. United midfielder Davy Arnaud. "They have a lot of quality on their team. We all look at the standings, and we see how important this game is. We know just like they do."
One key to winning this important showdown - shut down Jermain Defoe. The talented Englishman is one of the most dangerous forwards in MLS, currently third in the League in goals (11). Thus far, he's tallied once against United in TFC's 1-0 win in March and had a hand in the home side's goal in the Black-and-Red's 2-1 victory on July 5th.
"They've got good movement up top from the forwards, Defoe and [Luke] Moore last time we played them up in Toronto," said United defender Steven Birnbaum. "So, I think as a back line, we need to just keep track of them and defend the box really well. We just need to track our runners."
With Michael Bradley directing traffic in the midfield, Toronto will keep United on its collective toes. The Black-and-Red, though, have been earning three points against quality sides all season.
"We know it's going be tough, but we have to approach these games the same way," said Arnaud. "We've had success for a large part of the season just going about our business the same way. So, in terms of that, we try not to change too much."
Last match, D.C. overcame Chivas USA 3-1, with goals from Eddie Johnson, Perry Kitchen and Luis Silva. It will need to be another team effort tomorrow, but that's exactly what has defined DCU in 2014. Ahead of another road stint, that teamwork will have to be in full effect.
"It's a big game for us, to start the away trip on a good note," Birnbaum said.
Arnaud added: "We're going to hit a stretch now where we have a lot of games coming up, but our approach can't change, especially at home. We're going to be fresh."
Come watch a fresh DCU host TFC tomorrow at 7 p.m. Buy your tickets now!