Thanks in large part to Hurricane Irene, tonight's match against Chivas USA is the first at home for D.C. United since a 4-0 thumping of the Vancouver Whitecaps on August 13. Five of United's final eight matches are at RFK Stadium, where the Black-and-Red have largely struggled to perform (3-3-6 at home, 5-5-4 away). It's the main reason why United find themselves outside the playoff places as the final month of the season begins.
D.C. United (8-8-10) vs. Chivas USA (7-12-10)
When: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 21.
Where: RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington D.C.
TV: Comcast SportsNet.
Team News And Tactics
D.C. United: The surprise insertions of Joe Willis and Joseph Ngwenya in the starting lineup for Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Seattle were due to hamstring injuries to both starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid and left wing Santino Quaranta. I'd expect both to take their normal places in the starting lineup tonight. Also, look for Austin da Luz to get another start in midfield after his strong performance Saturday night, though Marc Burch could get some time as well.
Chivas USA: David Junior Lopes, who accidentally broke Chris Pontius' tibia in a 50-50 tackle during United's 3-0 win at Chivas on September 10, will return from his one-game red card suspension tonight. He should replace Zarek Valentin in Chivas' back line. Meanwhile, U.S. international defender Heath Pearce (hamstring strain) is another possibility for Robin Fraser, though that will likely be a game-time decision.
Key to the Game
Link-up Play--All three goals in United's 3-0 win over Chivas 11 days ago were the result of quick counter-attacks spearheaded by Charlie Davies, Dwayne De Rosario, and Pontius. With Ponitus and Quaranta both injured, that sort of attack was nowhere to be found last Saturday. If Quaranta's return sees the same sort of crisp forward play, it's very likely that United will make it a double over Chivas.