MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 28, 2012
(All times Eastern)
Houston (2-1-2) at D.C. United (3-2-3), 7:30 p.m.
Washington, D.C. (Sports Network) - D.C. United will put its six-game unbeaten
streak, its longest in three years, on the line against the Houston Dynamo on
United lost its first two matches this year, but has three wins and three ties
in its last six, including a 4-1 win over Red Bull New York last week.
D.C. (3-2-3) has climbed to second in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference
and hosts Houston (2-1-2), which reached the MLS Cup last season, this weekend
at RFK Stadium.
United went seven straight games without a defeat in April and May in 2009 and
could equal that streak against the Dynamo.
Chris Pontius scored a hat trick against New York last week and has four goals
this season. He started the season in a wide midfield role, but has started as
a forward in the last two.
"I have always said that I just want to be on the field," Pontius said.
With Pontius adding another threat offensively, United overcame New York duo
Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper, who have combined for 15 goals this season.
"Throughout the season, you're going to have games like this where you are
playing a team that's a little down," United boss Ben Olsen said, "and you got
to step on them and take advantage of them."
United has also done well defensively, allowing more than one goal in a match
just once this season.
"The whole back four was solid; they were connected. We didn't get caught in
behind too many times. They defended the box very well," Olsen said after the
New York match. "I was very pleased with the way they're coming along."
Houston plays the sixth match of its season-opening seven-game road trip, and
with eight points from the first five, has already done well. The Dynamo tied
the Columbus Crew, 2-2, in their last match.
Columbus secured 11 points during a seven-game road trip to start 1999, and it
is a total that Houston could match with a win in D.C.
Will Bruin, who has developed a partnership with Brian Ching up top, notched a
hat trick last time Houston visited United. In addition, midfield general Brad
Davis should be available for the match for the Dynamo.
Former United defender Bobby Boswell and Geoff Cameron solidify one of the top
defenses, which has coach Dominic Kinnear confident the club can conclude the
season-opening road trip on a positive note over the next two matches.
"We're a team that's been together now and when you look at the last half of
last year and the beginning of this year, they don't get rattled," he said.
04/27 18:39:59 ET