D.C. United look to close out their two-game road trip with a win against Columbus Crew SC Saturday, September 30, at 7:30 PM. Playing in their second match in four days, the Black-and-Red will once again get a chance to prove their worth against playoff-caliber competition before taking a two-week long break, returning Oct. 15 at Portland.
This is the second meeting between the clubs this season, after Columbus defeated United 2-0 on March 18 at RFK Stadium. Like the New York Red Bulls Wednesday, Columbus will be hosting a much-changed and polished United club than the one they played earlier in the year.
The Black-and-Red’s backline and goalkeepers continue to impress, allowing less than one goal per game since Aug. 5. Russell Canouse has helped provide defensive stability, while the other August additions, Paul Arriola, Zoltan Stieber and Bruno Miranda, have helped unify and ignite United’s attack. Since making his United debut Saturday against San Jose, goalkeeper Steve Clark has been solid, making 5 saves against the Red Bulls, including one that denied Bradley Wright-Phillips from point-blank range.
Columbus enter Saturday on a streak, but will need to make adjustments to keep pace with the Black-and-Red. The Crew were last shut out July 26 and have not lost since Aug. 5, going 4-0-3 in their last seven matches. Columbus, who defeated the Red Bulls 3-2 Saturday, sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Crew are four points ahead of the sixth-placed Red Bulls, who have one game in hand on Columbus.
With an attack led by forward Ola Kamara and midfielder Justin Meram, Columbus have been dangerous offensively, scoring 48 goals on the season as a club, and scoring multiple goals in 16 out of 31 games played. But the Crew have also struggled to prevent goals, allowing 47 goals against, the highest of any Eastern Conference team in playoff position by six.
This could be problematic for Columbus against United, who have scored 7 goals in their last two games. United have struggled at Mapfre Stadium, last winning there in 2006, but are primed to end that streak on the heels of back-to-back impressive outings.
Pre-game coverage starts at 7 PM on NewsChannel 8, CW Richmond and live on Facebook.