D.C. United (2-8-1, last in Eastern Conference)
Head coach: Curt Onalfo, first year
Last week: Drew 0-0 at home against Real Salt Lake
Last year: 9-8-13, missed playoffs via tiebreaker
KEY D.C. PLAYERS
F Danny Allsopp — Big, physical Aussie is the target man up front. Broke out for two goals in a win against Kansas City, but hasn’t scored otherwise. Will try to muscle his way around the Seattle backline, could be dangerous on set pieces.
M Andy Najar — This 17 year old from Honduras has been one of the revelations of the league and we’ll see how long he stays at this level. Sigi said he plays with tremendous confidence. He’ll look to create on the right wing.
GK Troy Perkins — The goalkeeper situation has been a bit fluid this season in D.C. Youngster Bill Hamid is the future, but Perkins (once thought to be the USMNT #3) got a clean sheet last week and will probably get the call in the hostile environment. Anyone but Josh Wicks, right?
D.C. defender Dejan Jakovic v. Seattle forward Fredy Montero — The D.C. backline is decimated by injuries. Heck their whole roster is. With the Sounders likely to be pressing most of the match, much of the pressure will fall on the talented young Serbian. With the transfer window opening soon, you might think Montero is auditioning for a job in Europe as well.
D.C. midfielders Clyde Simms/Stephen King v. Seattle midfielders Brad Evans/Pat Ianni — New England got nothing in the middle last game and D.C. might suffer a similar fate if it can’t hold possession a bit when it gets the ball. Ianni has been a strong, physical presence in the middle of the field and is winning a lot of balls — thus easing the loss of Ozzie.
The worst team in the league v. the best home crowd in the league — There’s no way D.C. is coming into a packed Qwest Field and getting a result, right? Such confidence might be a danger to the Sounders, who need to play with the same energy and motivation as last Saturday. I don’t anticipate it being an issue, but you never know.
D.C. probably isn’t as bad as it record indicates, unfortunately for them, neither is Seattle. The Sounders can jump into fourth place in the West and back into the playoff mix with a win tonight.
The guys in green have looked very sharp in training and will likely trot out the same starting lineup for the third straight game. That stability should serve well, though the lineup might look significantly different after tonight.
I made the mistake of underrating the Sounders last week (a 1-1 draw against N.E., really?), and I won’t do that again. I think a couple individuals might break through with a couple much-needed scores too.
Seattle Sounders FC 2, D.C. United 0
29′ — Pat Noonan (Freddie Ljungberg)
48′ — Brad Evans (Steve Zakuani)