Scouting Report: D.C. United
For the first time in 2013, the Crew will face a familiar foe as it welcomes D.C. United on Saturday evening (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio). The two sides met back on March 23 when the Black & Gold defeated United 2-1 at RFK Stadium in Washington.
The Crew will break-down film on Ben Olsen's team this week and attempt replicate its performance from a month ago when the Eastern Conference rivals meet on Saturday.
"We played very organized and we created a lot of chances," Head Coach Robert Warzycha said of the last meeting. "We were very aggressive and we have to play the same way at home on Saturday."
Added defender Josh Williams, "I think that was the start of us being dangerous on set pieces. We had good service and I think we used the flank play a lot to start the game. Tyson and I were getting forward really well. We were pretty effective. Hopefully we can pick that back up and get a little bit more possession on Saturday."
The Crew is 22-25-8 all-time against United, but the Black-and-Red have not won in Columbus since 2007.
DESPERATE FOR GOALS
United has scored just four goals through seven matches this season as it sits in last place on the Eastern Conference. Though offensive catalysts Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius have yet to hit the back of the net in 2013, the Crew knows smothering the duo defensively on Saturday will be key in picking up three points.
"They have weapons, it just seems like they're not clicking for some reason," Williams explained. "We need to focus on their weapons and shutting DeRo and Pontius down. We won't take them lightly."
D.C. winger Nick DeLeon, who took a lot of attention off of De Rosario and Pontius last season, was injured when the Crew and United met back in March. D.C. has yet to find a solid replacement for DeLeon as he is expected to miss at least two more weeks with a strained hamstring.
Still, Warzycha isn't expecting an easy match Saturday.
"DeLeon scored a lot of goals for them last year," he said. "I'm sure they're missing him, but I'm not underestimating D.C. because we know what happened in Chicago when the Fire were in last place too. In this League, the last place team can win and gain momentum. We have to make sure we take this game and prepare the right way."
SOMETHING TO PROVE
As D.C. United enters Saturday's match on a five-match winless skid and the Crew attempts to bounce back from a disappointing showing in Chicago last week, both sides have something to prove this weekend.
"We need to come out hungry because I feel like we played awful in the second half against Chicago," Williams said. "I'm sure they will be ready to play too."
The Crew is riding an 11-match home-unbeaten streak that dates back to July of 2012 and the Black & Gold want nothing less than three points to extend the run on Saturday after drawing their first two home matches of 2013.
Said Williams, "We not only have to match [United's] intensity, but come out with more intensity than they do to protect the home field."