Toronto FC (0-8-0) at D.C. United (6-4-3), 7:30 p.m.
Washington, D.C. (Sports Network) - D.C. United has already matched its home
win total from last year, and point-less Toronto FC is all that stands between
another home win in the second of a three-game homestand Saturday.
United defeated the Colorado Rapids, 2-0, on Wednesday for its fourth home win
this season in Major League Soccer, and is just one point behind Red Bull New
York for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Although D.C. (6-4-3) has played two more matches than New York, its home form
is a sign it could just be a contender for the regular-season conference title
D.C. United won just seven home games over the last two seasons, but four wins
and two draws this season in seven fixtures has made RFK Stadium a tough place
to visit for the first time in years.
United took care of Colorado with Dwayne De Rosario and Hamdi Salihi paired up
top for the first time, and Salihi had his third goal in his last four games.
"When you score is always good, it gives you confidence," Salihi said. "I've
said this before, I've always believed in myself and in my quality. I work the
same way every day, it doesn't matter if I score in one game or if I don't, I
work the same way."
Salihi's run includes a goal against Toronto (0-8-0) on May 5, when United won
2-0 at BMO Field in the teams' first meeting this season. He enters the second
meeting in good form, and with United getting a little healthier.
Perry Kitchen looked to have suffered a major knee injury last weekend against
the Houston Dynamo, but played the full match against Colorado. And United was
also able to field designated player Branko Boskovic from the start for the
first time since April 18.
"DeRo and Branko are great players and it's not difficult to play with them
because they can find you everywhere," Salihi said. "It's always good to play
with players like this. I'm especially happy for Branko because he is coming
back and he played a great game."
TFC has also dealt with injuries this season, including to designated players
Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans. But Koevermans played midweek, as Toronto
tied Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 1-1, in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday.
Toronto has not played in MLS since its meeting with United earlier this month
and will try to carry its non-league form, which includes two wins and three
draws against MLS opponents, into league play.
TFC set the league record for consecutive losses to start the season with its
loss to United at home and the overall record in regulation is 10. The overall
record, including shootout losses, is 12.
"We are walking on egg shells and once it cracks everything falls apart and I
don't think that should be happening," Toronto's Julian de Guzman said.
Toronto's Ryan Johnson admitted it has been a tough start in league play, but
the team has to just focus on the future.
"The whole league so far has been a killer in the morale," Johnson said.
"We've just got to look at the positive things that we did and keep building
on that because if we keep focusing on the negative we'll never get out of