Crew-D.C. United Preview
Perhaps a visit from the offensively challenged Columbus Crew will be what D.C. United needs to end its own offensive struggles at home.
United looks to snap a three-match home goalless drought while trying to send the Crew on their first five-game losing streak in 19 years when these teams meet for the second time in 11 days on Saturday night.
D.C. United (5-3-2) is among three teams with an Eastern Conference-leading 17 points, but is 2-3-1 since opening 3-0-1. United has managed just four goals over the last six matches and is 0-2-1 during that span at home, where it's been outscored 6-0 after posting a 7-0 goal-advantage in winning the first two at Audi Field.
United, which last went four consecutive home games without scoring a goal in 2017, has recorded just one while losing two of the last three overall. D.C fell 1-0 at Minnesota United FC last weekend after having a goal disallowed.
"We're not creating enough chances," forward Wayne Rooney told United's official website. "I think that's partly because, well a lot because, the second half of games, we're letting teams almost get the ball to the edge of our box and get crosses into the box, and we're relying too much on someone to defend and clear the ball.
"It's something, of course, that we have to address, and we will address that and try to get that right."
While Rooney and United focus on the tactical approach to the offense, mentally, D.C. can't afford to become more frustrated than it already feels. Especially because this weekend presents a quality opportunity for United to get back on track.
D.C.'s lone goal over the last three games came courtesy of Rooney in the 27th minute of a 1-0 victory at Columbus on April 24. The result pushed United's regular-season unbeaten run against the Crew (4-5-1) to three matches.
"We know what (D.C. brings) to the table," Crew midfielder Eduardo Sosa told the club's official website. "Now, we have to focus on the little things so we can improve them. It's not going to be an easy match, but we have to be working the little things and hopefully get a good result."
Similar to D.C., Columbus got out of the gate strong, going 4-1-1 through its first six contests. The Crew generated a modest seven goals during that stretch, but have been outscored 7-1 while losing four in a row since the solid start.
Columbus has been blanked in each of its last two games, and last scored on a 69th-minute goal from Pedro Santos during a 3-1 loss to Portland on April 20.
The Crew last dropped five in a row over final five games of the 2000 season.
"Remain positive, I mean it's a long season, things like this happen throughout the years," veteran midfielder Hector Jimenez said. "Obviously, it is not the situation that we like to be in. Just stay positive, believing in each other and knowing that things will hopefully go for us in the right way soon."
Updated May 2, 2019