D.C. United will look to win back-to-back MLS games for the first time this season as they host last year's MLS Cup finalists, FC Dallas, tonight at RFK Stadium. Tonight's match will be particularly memorable for D.C. United midfielder Dax McCarty, who was drafted by FC Dallas with the 6th overall pick of the 2006 MLS SuperDraft and played for the club through last season. McCarty was left unprotected by Dallas in the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft, and he was subsequently taken by the Portland Timbers, who traded him to D.C. United for Rodney Wallace and a 4th-round pick in last January's SuperDraft.
FC Dallas (3-3-1) at D.C. United (3-4-1)
Place: RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: None unless you have the Direct Kick package. CSN doesn't get back into the groove until next Saturday's home match against Colorado.
Team News and Tactics
D.C. United: Clyde Simms and Chris Pontius, who both picked up calf injuries in Wednesday night's 2-1 win over Seattle, have been passed fit to play and are expected to start. Defender Marc Burch missed Wednesday night's game with a hamstring injury, but he is available to play, though it is by no means a certainty that he'll start. The condition of Kurt Morsink (concussion) has reportedly improved, but even if he is in uniform, he'll likely start on the bench. Look for Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff to be paired up front for a fifth straight league game and for Andy Najar to get another start on the right side of midfield.
FC Dallas: Dallas will be without first-choice left-back Jair Benitez, who suffered a nasty-looking knee injury in Dallas' 2-1 home win over the Los Angeles Galaxy last Sunday. Expect Zach Loyd to come into the side tonight to pick up the slack there, while Marvin Chavez is expected to come into the right side of midfield alongside Andrew Jacobson. Look for Schellas Hyndman to play a 4-1-4-1 formation with Fabio Castillo leading the line and Daniel Hernandez playing the defensive midfield position.
Key to the Game
McCarty has a point to prove: If there was ever a good time for Dax McCarty's talents to be on display, this would be it. Dallas has some excellent young midfield talent in Jacobson, Brek Shea, and Eric Avila, but McCarty will surely want to show his former club that they made a big mistake in leaving him unprotected over the winter.
Bonus Miscellaneous Fact
D.C. United has not won back-to-back league games since June 2009, when they followed up a 2-0 win over New York Red Bulls with a 2-1 triumph over Chicago.