Washington, DC (Sports Network) - A pair of fierce Eastern Conference rivals
clash on Sunday as the Philadelphia Union battle I-95 foes D.C. United at RFK
Through six games this season, D.C. United is on the bottom of the East with
four points and has not won since a 1-0 decision over Real Salt Lake back on
Last time out, D.C. United struggled mightily, getting just three shots on
target, in a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls at home. The Red Bulls
dominated play the first time the teams met on March 16, but came away
disappointed with a 0-0 draw.
But it took New York just 29 minutes to find the back of net last week as
Thierry Henry ripped a well-struck, right-footed shot into the bottom right
corner past the outstretch arm of United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
New York made it 2-0 seven minutes later when Jamison Olave redirected a
headed pass from Brandon Barklage past Hamid for his third goal of the
"I would say what ails most teams that go through this type of period, is not
being able to score, an attack that's pretty poor, and also lapses of
concentration," D.C. head coach Ben Olsen's said of his team's struggles. "We
had more of the ball tonight. We looked good at times in the midfield and we
moved the ball around, but thats because it was 2-0. We have to get back to
having teams earn goals. And thats not a knock on the Red Bulls. They were
United has scored just two goals this campaign while conceding seven.
"We're easy to play against," Olsen continued. "We're easy to play against
from a defensive side and an offensive side. We're not dynamic enough. We're
pretty predictable in the way we go about things. That's who we are right now.
We have to stay together and dig our way out of it. That's what we need to be
focused on right now."
Philadelphia, meanwhile, enters Sunday's clash coming off a frustrating 1-1
home draw against Toronto FC.
The Union fell behind in the 72nd minute against Toronto thanks to a cheeky
strike from Robert Earnshaw, but Philadelphia put relentless pressure on the
Toronto net after the goal.
The hosts forced TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik to make nine saves in total, but
finally got one past him in the second minute of stoppage time to come away
with a point.
But it was a game Philadelphia felt it should have won.
"I don't think we played our best today," Union striker Jack McInerney said.
"I think we definitely could have played better. That's something we'll have
to continue to work on."
Another intriguing aspect to this growing rivalry is the familiarity both
teams have with each other.
Union midfielder Danny Cruz joined the club last season in a trade from D.C.
United in exchange for forward Lionard Pajoy. Additionally, former Union
striker Carlos Ruiz has resurfaced with D.C. United after a sabbatical from
Major League Soccer.
In nine all-time meetings, D.C. United holds a slim 4-3-2 edge and went 2-0-1
in three league meetings last season.
The Sports Network