Three days shy of the one-month anniversary of their season-opening win over the Columbus Crew, D.C. United heads north of the border as they look for their second win of the season against Toronto FC.
D.C. United (1-2-1) at Toronto FC (1-1-3)
Time: 7:00 p.m., Saturday, April 16
Place: BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
Team News and Tactics
D.C. United: The Black-and-Red will have to make one enforced change to the starting lineup, as Santino Quaranta will have to sit this match out after getting himself sent off in last weekend's 1-1 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The most obvious candidate to replace Quaranta would be Andy Najar, who, like Quaranta, plays primarily on the right. But don't be surprised if Ben Olsen keeps the youngster on the bench in favor of either Fred or Branko Boskovic. Perry Kitchen is a game-time decision as he continues to recover from the stomach bug that forced him to miss last week's match.
There has been some thought that Charlie Davies would make his first start for the Black-and-Red tonight (he is, after all, the leading goal scorer in MLS with four goals in three appearances, all off the bench). If Davies does start tonight in the 4-4-2 formation that Ben Olsen went with last weekend against the Galaxy, it seems most likely he will take the place of Blake Brettschneider, whom Davies replaced after 53 minutes Saturday night. Steve Cronin (wrist), Junior Carreiro (ankle), Devon Mctavish (concussion), and Jed Zayner (hamstring) are the only United players unavailable for duty.
Toronto FC: Maicon Santos is set to return to action for Toronto FC after missing Wednesday's goalless draw against the Galaxy due to illness. Julian De Guzman is a 50-50 proposition to play as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery, as is Alan Gordon (adductor strain). Santos is likely to start up top tonight for Toronto FC, which would push Alen Stevanovic back to the left side after leading the line against the Galaxy Wednesday. Keep an eye as well on Gianluca Zavarise, who played well on the left wing for TFC Wednesday night. Look for the home team to play a kind of 4-1-2-3 with Santos, Stevanovic, and Javier Martina getting forward.
Key to the Game
Quickness and Fluidity: After last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Los Angeles, there was a lot of talk in the D.C. United locker room about improving the fludity of D.C. United's attack. The presence of an experienced striker like Davies in the starting lineup should help matters, but whether or not the midfield can link up with Davies and (likely) Josh Wolff is a much bigger question. I think a bigger presence for Najar would help immensely in this regard, as well.