After losing their last two league matches by a combined score of 8-1, D.C. United will look to regain some traction in the Eastern Conference standings as they host the Seattle Sounders, unbeaten in their last five matches.
D.C. United (2-4-1) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (3-2-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 4
Place: RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.
TV: None locally, unless you have MLS Direct Kick
Team News and Tactics
D.C. United: The Black-and-Red's midfield depth will be tested tonight without the services of Branko Boskovic, who will apparently opt for surgery on his damaged left knee after seeking out second and third medical opinions. It will be interesting to see how Ben Olsen chooses to arrange his midfield tonight. After two consecutive largely anonymous league starts on the right for Fred, it seems likely that Olsen will make a change to his starting 11, whether by bringing Santino Quaranta off the bench or renewing trust in Andy Najar, who came on as a halftime substitution Friday night against Houston. On defense, Jed Zayner is out tonight after being subbed off on the hour mark Friday when he apparently re-aggravated the hamstring injury that had kept him out for five previous weeks. Look for Chris Korb to slide back in to the line-up to replace him.
Seattle Sounders FC: Don't expect Sigi Schmid to make many changes to a side that beat Toronto FC 3-0 over the weekend. The only changes might come in midfield, with Schmid calling attacking midfielder Mauro Rosales (who did not play against Toronto FC) a gametime decision. Look for Seattle to play a 4-1-3-2 formation with Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua leading the line and Osvaldo Alonso in the defensive midfielder role.
Key to the Game
Use the Wings Wisely: Seattle's narrow formation should mean that Chris Pontius and Andy Najar (if he starts), as well as Chris Korb and Marc Burch, should be able to find some free space down the wings and get balls into the box for Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff. However, that would require United's central midfield and defense to rediscover their vision and quickness on the ball, which has been sorely lacking in the past two games. We'll see what happens tonight.
Bonus Miscellaneous Stat
The Sounders have won all three matches they've played against D.C. United at RFK Stadium, including the 2009 U.S. Open Cup Final.