Riding some stellar defensive form and with a first-round playoff home match in its sights, D.C. United looks to build some momentum heading into the postseason.
United will try to extend its unbeaten and clean-sheet stretch to five games Sunday against visiting FC Cincinnati on Decision Day.
D.C. (13-10-10) enters the final regular-season weekend of MLS action currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. It’s one point ahead of the New York Red Bulls and two up on Toronto FC. Should United stay in fourth, that would give it an important first-round match.
“We want to reward our fans with another home game,” coach Ben Olsen told United’s official website. “We don’t want this to be our last game at Audi Field. “(We’re) competing to put ourselves in a spot to get three points against Cincinnati.”
It would seem D.C. is in a good position to earn those three points and that coveted home playoff contest. United is 3-0-1 since losing three in a row from Aug. 17-24. Not only that, but D.C., which just played the Red Bulls to a scoreless draw on the road last weekend, has not conceded a goal in any of those four matches.
The last time Olsen’s time allowed a goal came in the 36th minute of a 3-1 road loss to Philadelphia on Aug. 24.
Plus, Cincinnati (6-22-5) has scored a league-low 31 goals during its expansion season and totaled just one over the last three games. D.C. beat FCC 4-1 in July, thanks to two goals with an assist courtesy of Lucas Rodriguez, in addition to one of each from Wayne Rooney and Paul Arriola.
However, FCC has earned five points over the last four contests and, obviously, has nothing to lose. Allan Cruz scored his team-leading seventh goal in the 40th minute of a 1-1 draw with Orlando City SC at home last Sunday.
“When you look at the whole season. The efficiency of scoring goals, we have to do better,” coach Ron Jans told Cincinnati’s official website.
“We can improve on so many things and what we want to do, and finishing is one of them.”
Emmanuel Ledesma (six goals) scored the lone goal for FCC at D.C this summer, via penalty kick in the 54th minute.
Rooney, meanwhile, has a team-leading 11 goals for United, but has not scored in seven MLS matches since doing so against Cincinnati.