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April 7, 2012 at 2:52 AM

Sounders FC vs. D.C. United, preview and prediction

D.C. United Logo.jpgSounders FC (2-1-0) vs. D.C. United (1-2-1)

Saturday, April 7, 4:30 p.m., RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

TV/radio: KONG-TV 6/16, 97.3 KIRO-FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)

Spanish TV: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114)

Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3

Referee: Edvin Jurisevic

KEY D.C. UNITED PLAYERS

F/M Dwayne De Rosario — The reigning MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner. Does that say enough? And that was achieved despite not being on a playoff team, which was a first when it comes to being MVP. He can dominate offensively as both a midfielder and forward, and boasts a tremendous combination of skill and toughness. Went 0 for his first 13 shots, which means he might be due.

F Maicon Santos — He’s a bit of a journeyman having played for Chivas USA, Toronto, FC Dallas and now D.C., but he’s off to a great start with two goals and an assist (all last week against Dallas). The Brazilian has played in every game this season and has helped make up for a slow start from DP Hamdi Salihi.

D Emiliano Dudar — With Brandon McDonald suspended Saturday after some retroactive punishment, a lot of defensive responsibility will fall on the 6-foot-4 Argentine. The newcomer had a bit of a gaff against FC Dallas last week that led to Blas Perez’ goal, but D.C. fans are hopeful we’ll provide some stability in the back this season.

KEY MATCHUPS

Nick DeLeon vs. Zach Scott — D.C.’s left winger is probably the leading candidate for MLS Rookie of the Year with two goals and an assist already in his young career. Dynamic and dangerous, he’ll be a big defensive test for the Sounders’ veteran. Though going up against the physical Scott is no treat either.

Alvaro Fernandez vs. Robbie Russell — As I mentioned in a previous story, Flaco needs to step up with Mauro Rosales out. And certainly you’d expect him to have more than the one shot he has this season. He’ll know Russell well from those clashes against RSL and it should be an interesting duel to watch.

Dominant 2011 road form vs. unproven 2012 road form — We know the Sounders were very strong away from CenturyLink Field last season at 9-3-5. The lone road game we’ve seen from Seattle this year was a 6-1 loss to Santos Laguna. The team has prided itself of playing well in hostile environments and we’ll have to see if that continues.

PREDICTION

This rivalry has produced some wild games in the past three years — the 2009 U.S. Open Cup final, D.C. coming back with two late goals that year to earn a 3-3 tie at CenturyLink, Roger Levesque’s late winner in 2010, some one-sided stuff by the home teams last season. It’s always entertaining, that’s for sure.

I think I see a good amount of goals in this one. D.C. has a lot of attacking options and will take it to Seattle I think. The Sounders love it when teams opens up at home and will get their chances, too.

It’ll be interesting to see if Marc Burch’s emotions come into play in his return to RFK to play his old team. It also sounds like there’s some lingering resentment over Daniel Woolard’s tackle on Rosales last year. Ultimately, I see it playing pretty evenly.

Sounders FC 2, D.C. United 2

SEA — Fredy Montero (Brad Evans) 24′

DCU — Dwayne De Rosario (Nick DeLeon) 44′

DCU — Hamdi Salihi (Chris Pontius) 74′

SEA — Eddie Johnson (Fredy Montero) 86′

* * *

How do you see this one playing out?

COMMENTS

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