Thanks to Miguel Aguilar’s first career goal, the Black-and-Red won their first match in the CONCACAF Champions League. Now they are back home at RFK for an MLS game, they host the surging San Jose Earthquakes tonight at 7pm Eastern.
The Earthquakes come into this game on a two game win streak, with their latest win being extremely impressive. They beat Sporting KC 5-0, Chris Wondolowski scored his tenth eleventh goal of the season and has now scored 100 in MLS play. Newcomer Quincy Amarikwa has produced as well, playing a role in each of the Quakes last five goals. San Jose is not like other teams in the sense that they struggle to score on the road, they actually score more goals on the road than at home. They are trying to get that last playoff spot in the Western Conference, so not only will their skill be on display, but they’ll be playing with a bit of desperation on their side as well.
As for the Black-and-Red, they’re coming off a 3-1 defeat at the hands of New York City FC. Coach Olsen wasn’t happy about their performance as he thought his team didn’t play with their usual “chip” on their shoulders. It will be interesting to see which D.C. United team shows up tonight, the passive version or the gritty team in first place that plays with a swagger. As of late United has struggled to keep sustain possession, it played a role in their last three league games, only they were able to rally and win two of the three. United is at their best when their midfield is fully involved, not just out wide, but in the middle. When Kitchen and Arnaud are mostly just playing defense, the attack struggles a bit, how aggressive or involved those two are in the attack, is a great barometer for how the Black-and-Red is doing in the possession game. That’s played a role in them being out shot by opponents in the last three games, by nearly 30 shots at that.
Keys to a United Victory
- Sustain Possession. It’s the biggest issue as of late and D.C. can’t continue to go on like this, they’ve been able to correct issues in play this season except for this one. If the wish to achieve all of their goals this season, it starts here.
- Play through the middle more. Alverado Saborio has been here for a few games now, but it still seems like D.C. hasn’t fully taken advantage of all of the options he gives them. They do an exceptional job of getting the ball out wide and providing service to him in the box, but have yet to take full advantage of playing thru him up the middle of the field. With his size and skill, it’s a legit option and should be explored more.
- Attack. You have to take shots to score, that game in which they took just one shot and scored is not something any team would like to replicate or rely on. So why they do have a true nine up front in Saborio, others still need to take shots, take advantage of that space you’re given and fire away. Rebounds are always unpredictable, but if shots aren’t taken than there are no rebounds.