One of Major League Soccer's original rivalries will be renewed on Saturday as the Crew welcomes D.C. United to Columbus. Here are few things to know about Ben Olsen's side before the match:
EXPECTING A RESPONSE
Coming off its worst loss of the season, a 4-0 defeat in Houston on Sunday night, Ben Olsen expects D.C. United to come out firing on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
“I expect a response just like we have [had] after some tough losses,” Olsen said after the match. “We have a road game in Columbus, hopefully we can fix some things there.”
Houston's domination of D.C. was initiated when United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was sent off in the 17th minute after taking down Macoumba Kandji in the penalty area. Hamid will serve his one game suspension against the Crew for his red card, and United could also be missing veteran right back Robbie Russell ,who left the match in Houston with a foot injury on Sunday.
Joe Willis is expected to start in place of Hamid, while Ohio native Chris Korb could start at right back should Russell be unfit to play on Saturday.
OPTIONS IN THE ATTACK
D.C. United will enter the match against the Crew tied for the second highest goal total in MLS with 34 tallies in 2012. United is led by versatile forward Chris Pontius' nine goals. Pontius, strikers Maicon Santos and Hamdi Salihi, and playmaker Dwayne De Rosario have combined for 26 goals this season.
Rookie of the Year candidate Nick DeLeon, winger Danny Cruz, and Montenegrin playmaker Branko Boskovic provide additional firepower in Olsen's ever-changing starting XI.
DERO PULLING THE STRINGS
Leading MLS with ten assists this season, it's clear that D.C. United's attack is fueled by Canadian midfielder Dwayne De Rosario. In addition to his vision to find his teammates in the final third, De Rosario has hit the back of the net five times in 2012 and sits just two goals away from 100 in his 12-year MLS career.
Whether it's in an attacking midfield role or as a withdrawn forward when Branko Boskovic is on the field, the Crew will need to keep an eye on De Rosario if it hopes to earn three points at home and move up the Eastern Conference table.