It’s hard to see the similarities now, but D.C. United’s 2013 campaign is unfolding a lot like its 2012 season. If things continue to follow suit, United is in for a resurgent spring run, but it is clear that attacking adjustments need to be made.
Despite stumbling to a 1-3-1 start, with just two goals scored, United is not fretting.
Last season, United was shut out in three of its first five games as well, and it was a 4-1 home win over the rival New York Red Bulls last April that positioned United for success during the summer and beyond. The team improved on its 2-2-3 start with a 7-2-0 jaunt that began with that rout, and the club’s hope is that the underachieving attack can sort itself out again when the Red Bulls come to RFK Stadium on Saturday.
The rivals have already played once this season, with United withstanding an offensive onslaught at Red Bull Arena to emerge with a 0-0 draw.
“We always seem to get the best New York team just like we did up there,” said Chris Pontius, who scored five goals against the Red Bulls last season — including a hat trick in the April triumph. “I thought they took it to us pretty well. We need a bit of revenge. We need to be a little bit nastier than we were up there.”
United is likely to welcome back Dwayne De Rosario from an adductor strain that prevented him from playing in last Friday’s 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City. De Rosario has missed three of the first five games through injury and suspension, and the 34-year-old veteran’s inclusion comes at an ideal time.
“Every year that I’ve experienced winning a championship, the team has always started out slow,” said De Rosario, a four-time MLS Cup winner. “We see it every year in this league. Teams that start out slow start to peak toward the end, the teams that peak toward the end usually go on to win it or go far. You saw it with us last year.”