D.C. United has improved with every game this season, at least on the scoreline.
From a 3-0 loss at home to Columbus to start the year, to a 1-0 loss at Toronto FC, to a 2-2 draw last weekend at home to the Chicago Fire, results seem to be trending in the right direction.
“I think every game has gotten better for us,” midfielder Perry Kitchen said after the Chicago match. “I think if you look back at the Toronto game, that was a step up from Columbus and this game’s definitely a step up from Toronto, so we just have to keep building on it and working forward.”
With two home games against struggling Eastern Conference rivals coming up, United now needs to turn whatever momentum it has been building into wins.
The New England Revolution come to town Saturday, followed by the New York Red Bulls the following weekend. Playoff teams last season, the Revolution and Red Bulls have just one win between them this season in seven games.
United will likely have to play both games without starting central midfielder Luis Silva, who suffered an ankle injury against the Fire and could miss multiple weeks. Davy Arnaud, a natural central midfielder who’s been playing out wide for United, will step into the middle, with Lewis Neal the most likely candidate to play on the flank in Arnaud’s stead.
With Silva’s injury and Chris Pontius still out indefinitely, the team made a move Wednesday to improve its midfield depth, acquiring Chris Rolfe from the cash-strapped Fire for allocation money.
Rolfe, 31, is an MLS veteran who has experienced plenty of success in his career stateside, including winning the Fire’s MVP award just two seasons ago. He’s also been capped 10 times by the U.S. national team, and it’s not difficult to envision him taking on a prominent role with United, even with the eventual returns of Silva and Pontius.
United should have Rolfe ready to go against New England, as the team looks to turn its small bit of momentum into its first win of 2014.