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D.C. United return to Audi Field on Saturday to take on the Columbus Crew for the second time in ten days. Their Eastern Conference foes provided a stiff test in the last encounter, but a Wayne Rooney free kick was enough to secure United’s first win at MAPFRE Stadium since 2007. Their second and final meeting this season is set to kickoff at 8 pm ET and will be broadcast on FloFC for DMV viewers.
Ben Olsen’s men are looking to rebound following their first away loss of the year, a 1-0 shutout at the hands of Minnesota United for the Loons’ first three points at Allianz Field. The home fans are eager to see both offense and a positive result, after two losses and a draw in the last three games at Buzzard Point, without a goal for United.
The Black-and-Red are level on points with the Philadelphia Union and Montreal Impact at the top of the Eastern Conference and road fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the better from last season, even with the loss to Minnesota. However, goals have been hard to come recently and Luciano Acosta has yet to really get going in 2019. But as the team deals with injuries and formation changes and still manages to sit atop the East, Olsen isn’t stressing about the struggles in the final third.
“We’re in there working and will try to figure it out, but not too concerned about our ability to score goals. That will come back around,” the head coach told FloFC. “We have enough playmakers and we have enough firepower. We need to get some bodies back and I think we’ll be fine.”
The Crew limp into Saturday’s matchup on the heels of four consecutive defeats. The goals are almost nowhere to be found at the moment-just one scored throughout the losing streak, and they were most recently blanked 2-0 by the Houston Dynamo last Saturday.
Not much has changed for the two squads in the last week and a half, with the exception of one acquisition for the Black-and-Red on Friday. United went through a rather complicated process to land Marquinhos Pedroso from FC Dallas to help out at left back.
Meanwhile, Columbus have reportedly landed midfielder David Guzman from the Portland Timbers in exchange for an international roster spot, however, that deal has not been made official and yet, and as such, the Costa Rican midfielder won't be playing against United on Saturday night.
The Crew are still without their starting outside backs in Milton Valenzuela (torn ACL) and Harrison Afful (broken jaw). Joseph Mora also remains sidelined with a broken jaw and Chris McCann is yet to return from a hamstring injury. Russell Canouse is eyeing his return following a minor knee issue and could return to the starting lineup for D.C.
The last time these two met at Audi Field it was the visitors who escaped town with a penalty shootout victory in the 2018 playoffs. D.C. United heavily owns the series when playing at home – 21 wins, 10 losses, and 4 draws.
Predicted D.C. United XI (3-4-2-1): Bill Hamid; Steve Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Frederic Brillant; Paul Arriola, Junior Moreno, Russell Canouse, Leonardo Jara; Lucas Rodriguez, Luciano Acosta, Wayne Rooney,