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DC United vs. Toronto FC | MLS Match Preview

D.C. UNITED vs TORONTO FC
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
July 30, 2014 (WEEK 21, MLS Game #189)
7 p.m. ET (CSN-MA; SNet One)

D.C. United and Toronto FC meet for the third time this season in a crucial clash for both clubs in the Eastern Conference when they face off Wednesday evening at RFK Memorial Stadium. United have won three games in a row following a 3-1 home defeat of Chivas USA in their last league match. D.C. sits in second place in the division, eight points ahead of third-place TFC, who come off a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at BMO Field over the weekend. The teams have split their first two encounters this year, both played in Toronto.

REFEREE: Chris Penso. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 54 games; FC/gm: 23.3; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 16; pens: 18

SUSPENDED: TOR: Doneil Henry (caution accumulation; through July 30)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DC: Perry Kitchen … TOR: Jackson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Fabian Espindola, Lewis Neal … TOR: Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow, Dominic Oduro, Michael Bradley
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (20 meetings): United 11 wins, 37 goals … Toronto FC 6 wins, 27 goals … Ties 3
AT RFK STADIUM (9 meetings): United 4 wins, 24 goals … Toronto FC 2 wins, 17 goals … Ties 3
2014
3/22: TOR 1, DC 0 (Defoe 60)
7/5: TOR 1, DC 2 (Moore 60 – DeLeon 54; Kitchen 69)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, each winning once previously. Nick DeLeon and Perry Kitchen scored second-half goals to lead United to a 2-1 win at BMO Field; on March 22, TFC’s Jermain Defoe scored the game’s only goal on the hour mark also at BMO Field.
  • TFC gained a win and a draw on their two trips to RFK Stadium last year, the victory just the club’s second all-time vs. United (first since 2010).
  • TFC had a two-game winning streak at BMO Field in the series ended in the last meeting. Toronto FC had gone more than four seasons, from 2009-2013, without a home win vs. United.
  • Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. DC: P5 W3 L1 D1 … Ben Olsen vs. TOR: P12 W6 L4 D2

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • United took the lead in the 54th minute. Nick DeLeon collected the ball on the right touchline, raced forward into the penalty area and after cutting back to put a defender to ground, curled a right-footed shot past TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
  • But TFC were level six minutes later. Jermain Defoe saw his shot from inside the area parried by United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, and Luke Moore was able to slide in and reach the ball first to push the rebound home for the equalizer.
  • Yet United took the lead for good in the 69th minute. Substitute Lewis Neal swung in a corner from the right and Perry Kitchen carved out space to head home with ease for the eventual game-winner.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund (ejected 88), Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow - Bradley Orr (Dominic Oduro 46), Collen Warner, Michael Bradley (Jonathan Osorio 61), Jackson (Daniel Lovitz 77) - Luke Moore, Jermain Defoe.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Chris Korb - Nick DeLeon (Conor Doyle 79), Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe (Collin Martin 84) - Luis Silva (Lewis Neal 62), Eddie Johnson.

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United collected their third victory on the trot, defeating Chivas USA 3-1 on July 20 at RFK Memorial Stadium. United are now in second place in the Eastern Conference with 34 points from 19 games.

LAST MATCH

  • United were gifted the opener in the 25th minute. United's Chris Rolfe was awkwardly taken down by Oswaldo Minda at the top of the box, and referee Fotis Bazakos pointed to the spot without hesitation. Eddie Johnson smashed the ensuing penalty to goalkeeper Dan Kennedy’s right for the opener.
  • In the 59th minute, United doubled their lead on a restart. Rolfe struck a bending ball into the area from 30 yards out which Johnson coolly nodded into the path of an onrushing Perry Kitchen, who laced his effort low and toward the near post, leaving Kennedy no chance.
  • Eleven minutes later it was 3-0 to United. Fullback Chris Korb played in Luis Silva on the left side of the box, and he opened himself up before putting a curling effort struck across the face of goal and into the far side netting to finish off a 14-pass movement.
  • Chivas USA pulled a goal back six minutes from time after United center back Steve Birnbaum brought down midfielder Mauro Rosales in the box. Erick Torres calmly converted the ensuing penalty, his sixth consecutive game with a goal, but that was the last stand for the visitors.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made no changes to his team for a third consecutive match, keeping the group that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium
  • D.C. UNITED (4-4-1-1): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Chris Korb - Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud (Jared Jeffrey 84), Chris Rolfe (Lewis Neal 67) - Luis Silva (Conor Doyle 74) - Eddie Johnson.

TEAM NEWS

  • D.C. United won their third game in a row with the victory against Chivas USA. United last won three games in a row from Sept. 15-23, 2012.
  • Eddie Johnson scored a goal for a second consecutive game – both by penalty kick ñ netting vs. Chivas USA. Johnson played the full 90 minutes for the third time in the last four league matches.
  • “In a lot of ways he’s as good as it gets in this league. He has an ability to score, hold the ball up, he’s technically sound, has good pace. He’s as well rounded a forward as you can get in this league and now it’s nice to see him touch the net a little bit,” said Olsen. “He does a lot of scoring in the summer traditionally, and we hope the goals keep coming. I thought he’s worked as hard as he’s ever worked on the defensive end for us. Part of that’s scoring goals, you score goals and you’re a little bit more energized as a forward.”
  • Said Johnson: “I feel like the team and I, we’re just getting familiar with our understanding on the field. I feel like it has been frustrating, now I’m trying to create that understanding and those partnerships on the field. ... You go one, two, three, four, five games without scoring and you start to put a lot more pressure on yourself. Once the World Cup was behind me, I’ve been really focused on my teammates and really trying to create something special.”
  • Luis Silva also scored for a second consecutive game. He now has five goals for the season, matching his single-season career-high recorded in 2012 with Toronto FC. All five goals have come in United’s last five contests.
  • Chris Rolfe recorded an assist for a second consecutive game and now has five for the season. “I thought we exploited them in a lot of different areas, wide, especially. … I thought Silva was good, Rolfe really was trouble for them inside and then our outside backs really gave them a host of trouble,” Olsen said
  • Perry Kitchen scored his second goal in the last three matches. “He’s always been a force on the set piece stuff and he anticipates the second run very well. It’s great, in a season you need that if you want to make playoffs,” said Olsen. “You need contributions from guys other than Fabian, Eddie, Rolfe and DeLeon. Davy [Arnaud] needs to chip in a couple, you need backs to chip in, but Perry’s proven he can help us out with that stuff.”
  • Goalkeeper Bill Hamid made his 101st career league appearance, the first Homegrown Player in MLS history to reach the century mark in appearances.
  • “I just gained a lot of experience, just settled down in the goal and learned how to keep my head and learned how to organize. I just feel like I’m getting better game by game and I want to prove it to everybody and help my team do the best that we can,” Hamid said.
  • Said Olsen: “It’s very rewarding for those of us that have been around to watch a guy like Bill Hamid grow from being a young kid to learning to be a pro. I know it means a lot for him to be on the All-Star team. You could see it when we told him, and he certainly deserves it.”
  • On Saturday, D.C. United fell 3-0 to English side Fulham FC in a friendly played in Jacksonville, Fla. Here’s United’s team: Dykstra (Hamid 52'); Kemp, Shanosky, Boswell (Birnbaum 52'); Porter, Jeffrey, Martin, Neal, Caskey; Seaton, Doyle

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC had their undefeated run put to an end after three games, falling 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at BMO Field. TFC sit in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference, with 26 points from 18 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The home side took the lead in the 16th minute. Dominic Oduro took a lovely first touch out of the air past a defender, then slipped a through ball to find Jackson rushing into the box, and he rounded SKC 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum before slotting home with ease.
  • But Sporting drew even just three minutes after the halftime break. After a scramble in the area saw the ball squirt out to the edge of the area, Graham Zusi latched onto it and curled the ball into an open net for the equalizer.
  • TFC were given a big leg up in the 75th minute when Oduro burst past KC defender Matt Besler and forced him into making a foul, one that saw the defender pick up his second yellow card of the night from referee Ted Unkel.
  • But SKC overcame the disadvantage to find the winner. A poor clearance attempt landed at the foot of Jacob Peterson, and he slotted home for the winner in the 80th minute.
  • TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made one changes to the team that came back for a 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Jackson came into the midfield in place of Jonathan Osorio.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Nick Hagglund, Bradley Orr (Dwayne De Rosario 82), Doneil Henry, Justin Morrow - Dominic Oduro, Collen Warner (Jonathan Osorio 80), Michael Bradley, Jackson - Luke Moore, Gilberto.

TEAM NEWS

  • The loss to Sporting KC concluded a run of four games out of five for Toronto FC at BMO Field ñ where they took just four of a possible 12 points. The trip to D.C. United now starts a run of four consecutive away matches for TFC.
  • “I suppose in one way we can look at it, in where we have come from, for Toronto and the fans, the reigning champs come in here and it was a performance that was extremely good,” said TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen. “Unfortunately two very soft goals.”
  • Said Michael Bradley: “It was a big game for us as we certainly had this one circled on our calendars. Knowing that we have games in hand and getting the best team in the conference, maybe in the whole league, at our home ground is a big chance to come away with a good win and make some ground up and set the tone for the second half of the season.”
  • Dominic Oduro has two goals and three assists in eight games for Toronto FC since coming to the club from Columbus at the beginning of June. He set up the lone TFC goal in the Sporting KC loss, making a second consecutive start.
  • “We haven't got our balance right yet in that midfield and we were missing a couple of key players,” Nelsen said. “But the balance wasn't right in those two goals, we were spectators, we were waiting for somebody to do their job. That was unfortunate.”
  • Dwayne De Rosario came on as a substitute for the final eight minutes, just his fifth substitute appearance (totaling 41 minutes), since his last MLS starts, which came April 5-12.
  • “We got a good team, and it’s hard to get into that team. And as you saw that front four, the two strikers and the wide guys, you can see why. I thought Dominic Oduro was absolutely brilliant,” Nelsen said.
  • Jackson scored his third goal of the season, his last one coming July 2. Each of his three goals have been the lone goal of the game scored by TFC (1-1 vs. Chicago on July 2; 1-2 vs. New England on May 3). Jackson has scored three goals or more in each of his last four seasons in MLS.
  • “The strikers were dangerous, out wide, Jackson had a great goal and he was dangerous as well,” said Nelsen. “So it's a tough team to get into not only for Dwayne [De Rosario], but for Andy Wiedeman and for all these guys. So they just got to keep going and working hard.”
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