United look to get back to winning ways at RFK Stadium on Saturday following two frustrating losses against Orlando City SC on September 9 and the Chicago Fire last weekend. The Black-and-Red are home for the weekend before embarking on a three-match away stretch against the New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers. Saturday's game marks the second-to-last fixture at RFK Stadium before the team heads to Audi Field next season following their final match at the historic venue on October 22.
New additions to the squad continue to bolster the Black-and-Red on either side of the ball each week. Paul Arriola made his sixth start for the club against Chicago last week and his work ethic has provided the offensive unit with a vital injection of energy and pace on the flanks. Zoltán Stieber looks settled in the United midfield and his quality on the ball and attacking vision has seen the Hungarian International forge a promising relationship with Argentine maestro Luciano Acosta. Russell Canouse also looks comfortable manning the number six slot in front of the Black-and-Red backline as he continues to improve with each appearance.
San Jose travel to the nation’s capital on the back of 1-0 home win against the Houston Dynamo on September 16. With a playoff berth in their crosshairs, the Earthquakes are looking to secure critical away points that have proved to be elusive this season with a 3-11-1 record on the road. After 13 seasons in Major League Soccer, veteran forward Chris Wondolowski’s sustained offensive output has seen the striker record his eighth 10+ goal season and remains the Quakes’ top scorer in 2017. San Jose’s defensive struggles will also have played a role in head coach Ben Olsen’s tactical plans as they look to capitalize on a leaky backline (they’ve allowed four goals in each of their last two away matches). United’s attacking players will be chomping at the bit while the defense will look to neutralize Wondolowski and add to the Earthquakes away woes this season.
Ian Harkes returned to the starting XI last week for the first time since he sustained an injury against Minnesota on July 29. The 22-year-old slotted into the center of midfield with Luciano Acosta (23 years old) and Russell Canouse (22 years old) along with Paul Arriola (22 years old) out wide to give the Black-and-Red a new and youthful look in the middle of the park.
As the excitement about the future of United continues to grow both on and off the field, the team will be soaking in their final moments at RFK Stadium. San Jose will be the last Western Conference team to visit the fortress and Ben Olsen will ensure the team is motivated for the task at hand in Saturday's match.