[MLS] Reeling D.C. United gets a chance on national television to atone for its shocking loss on the opening weekend of the season, and Texas rivals Houston and FC Dallas meet for the second and last time this season as part of a midweek MLS quadruple-header. Here are some points of interest to follow ...
D.C. DEJA VU. Curt Onaflo kicked off his stint as United head coach March 27 with a 4-0 hammering inflicted by former employer Kansas City, now coached by his former boss, Peter Vermes. The rematch is Wednesday at RFK (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2), and Kansas City could revive a stagnant attack that hasn’t scored in the last three league matches. United is the league leader in goals allowed with 13.
Midfield enforcer Clyde Simms is finally healthy, and if he can contain his Kansas City counterpart Stephane Auvray, D.C. United may blunt enough attacks to give its own offense badly needed possessions to establish tempo and generate chances. Many facets of United’s game have gone awry during its 0-5 start, but controlling the middle of the field in a home game is not a bad place to start the fix-up.
TEXAS TIME. Assuming Corey Ashe and Dominic Oduro didn’t run their legs off last weekend during a 3-0 pasting of Kansas City, the Dynamo speed could be a problem for FC Dallas, which even with the scoring of Jeff Cunningham -- three goals in five games after leading the league with 17 a year ago – is winless on the season while squandering numerous opportunities.
Coach Schellas Hyndman blamed poor luck for his team’s 1-1 tie with New England last weekend despite playing the last 20 minutes with a two-man advantage, but a stark fact of soccer is that bad teams miss good chances. Cunningham complained of a sore knee and didn’t train Tuesday; Honduran midfielder Marvin Chavez is a possible recall following limited duty due to knee and hamstring injuries.
AWAY FROM L.A. Both the Galaxy and Chivas USA are on the road, with streaking Los Angeles already nine points ahead in the standings. Chivas USA has also scored fewer goals (six) and conceded more (nine) than any of its Western Conference foes.
Though San Jose’s goal in its 1-0 defeat of Colorado Saturday looked offside, the Quakes did frustrate Omar Cummings so thoroughly he was substituted early in the second half. Outside mid Wells Thompson is driving forward energetically in place of the injured Colin Clark but more than a one-dimensional attack will be needed to split open the Galaxy. The ground will tremble under a monumental battle of the tall and strong, a.k.a. Conor Casey vs. Omar Gonzalez.
Revs coach Steve Nicol must replace striker Kheli Dube and midfielder Joseph Niouky, who were both sent off last weekend against FC Dallas. Despite being on the road, if Chivas USA can’t exploit an already thin opponent deprived of two starters and in the midst of rebuilding the back line, it has serious issues to address.