Last Sunday, D.C. United earned a point against NYCFC after a 0-0 draw at Yankee Stadium. Homegrown goalkeeper, Bill Hamid had a standout performance, stopping six shots to secure his 56th career shutout. This season Hamid has recorded eight saves and earned an MLS Team of the Week nomination twice.
The Black-and-Red almost nabbed a go-ahead goal against NYCFC in the 82nd minute, but a reaction save from Sean Johnson denied Luciano Acosta’s right-footed strike.
Last week, RSL earned their first win of the 2019 season against Vancouver on Saturday, March 9, thanks to a 21st-minute penalty from Albert Rusnák. Following his opening goal, the hosts comfortably saw the remainder of the game for a 1-0 win.
Both, RSL and D.C. United met last May as a ten-man United fell 3-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Arriola tucked away a well-placed volley in the 3-2 defeat, a goal that earned him Goal of The Week honors. D.C. United defender, Steven Birnbaum also scored a goal in the 83rd minute to bring it to the 3-2 but the Black-and-Red were unable to find the equalizer.
United will field an altered squad than the one that lost at Rio Tinto Stadium last season. Since the narrow defeat, the Black-and-Red have added Wayne Rooney, Lucas Rodríguez, and Leonardo Jara to complete a talented starting XI. Ben Olsen will look to get the LuchoRoo combination firing on all cylinders this Saturday at Audi Field.
RSL squeaked into the playoffs in 2018, edging the Zlatan Ibrahimović-led LA Galaxy by just one point. However, the Utah side fell to Sporting Kansas City 5-3 in the Western Conference Semifinal.
The Black-and-Red will see some familiar faces on the opposing sideline on Saturday. Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke made 58 appearances for United, starting at center back for the 2004 MLS Cup-winning side. The New York native is in his second full season coaching RSL. Salt Lake is also expected to start former D.C. United goalkeeper, Nick Rimando. Rimando totaled 98 games played, 8,956 minutes played, 355 saves, 29 shutouts and was the mainstay goalkeeper for United during their 2004 MLS Cup victory.
Arriola is the man to watch for the Black-and-Red, having scored in the home opener and showing tremendous work ethic on the right wing in Sunday’s stalemate. The designated player scored seven and earned eight assists in his first full season for D.C. United last year. His strong start to the campaign has earned him a USMNT call-up, as Arriola continues to see his role expand within the D.C. United ranks.
The Black-and-Red will look to build on consecutive shutouts to start the season with a strong performance against a side with only one win in its last six away fixtures. If you would like to purchase tickets to Saturday’s game against Real Salt Lake, CLICK HERE.