While D.C. United continue to struggle for a foothold in the MLS playoff places, tonight's opponents, Real Salt Lake, have all but assured themselves of a spot in the postseason. RSL enter tonight's crucial match at RFK Stadium having won five matches in a row and sitting in second place in the Western Conference. United, who will be grateful for the quick turnaround after Wednesday's disappointing 2-2 draw against Chivas USA, will be hoping that they won't need a repeat of Charlie Davies' "heroics" from the first match between these two tonight.
D.C. United (8-8-11) vs. Real Salt Lake (15-7-6)
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, September 24.
Where: RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C.
Team News and Tactics
D.C. United: With the exception of the injured Chris Pontius, D.C. United coach Ben Olsen started a first-choice XI on Wednesday night against Chivas USA. It's unlikely that significant changes will be made from that side tonight, though I wouldn't surprised if one of Austin da Luz, Stephen King, or Marc Burch steps in to take the place of Santino Quaranta, who is listed as questionable due to a left quadriceps spasm. Even if Quaranta starts, don't be surprised if Ben Olsen takes the opportunity to rotate his midfielders with some early substitutions, the better to keep his side fresh.
Also, defender Dejan Jakovic could make the bench tonight as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury suffered on international duty with Canada.
Real Salt Lake: Kyle Beckerman missed Wednesday's 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls while serving a mandatory one-game suspension for attaining too many yellow cards. He'll be back in the starting lineup tonight. Yordany Alvarez, who made his MLS debut and played the full 90 minutes in Beckerman's place Wednesday night, will likely drop to the bench. Also, Javier Morales, who's been out since May 7 with a broken left ankle, tweeted yesterday that he would be on the gameday roster tonight. Luis Gil and Ned Grabavoy could return to the starting lineup as well for the visitors. Gil finished Wednesday's match as a substitute in midfield, while Grabavoy missed Wednesday's match due to injury. Defender Chris Wingert might make the bench after missing the previous six games with a broken left wrist.
Bonus Miscellaneous Fact
D.C. United has never lost to Real Salt Lake at RFK. (3-0-3 in six matches).