The streak is under serious threat. DC United has not lost since June at RFK Stadium. The Black and Red is riding a record tying 19-game unbeaten streak at home and to establish a new franchise mark has to deal with its fourth match in eleven days against a surging side form Chicago.
The Fire is coming off a resounding 3-0 win Saturday over Montreal and is unbeaten in its last three games. After only cobbling together eight goals in its first seven matches, the Fire has found the back of the net eight times in its last four games.
United has more than survived its schedule and unfortunate injuries. United’s most lethal combination from last summer was Fabian Espindola and Luis Silva and they have yet to start a game together because of injury or suspension. Espindola, arguably United’s best player last season, has only appeared in two games.
- Starting strong. United can be excused for feeling a bit weary. The team albeit not every player has been on both coasts in the past week and has been challenged. Still United is at home and can ill-afford to fall into the trap of its last two matches when it conceded goals in the opening five minutes. The team leads the league in wins (3) when allowing the first goal, but in the midst of a heavy schedule would rather not have to chase the game.
- The finish. United is in first place, but still needs to be even better in the final third. After only putting one shot on target in its previous three games, United was better in attack on Saturday with five shots on goal. Conor Doyle has been working hard enough to earn a goal and might start again up top. Jairo Arrieta has proven to be a super-sub and his energy off the bench has changed games.
- Opportunity for the newcomers. In the middle of a busy stretch Markus Halsti and Facundo Coria might receive more playing time. In different situations both players possess the quality to be in the first eleven, but on United to date they have been valuable substitutes. In the midfield Halsti and Coria can create space and ignite attacks.
- No Maloney, but still the right Shipp. Without question the absence of Shaun Maloney is going to be a challenge for the Fire. Maloney has been called up by Scotland for a friendly against Qatar and a qualifier against the Republic of Ireland. Maloney will not be pulling the strings in midfield, but Harrison Shipp is still a big concern on the right flank.