R.F.K stadium may be on its last legs, but it’s still a fortress for the home team. D.C. United has picked up both of its wins this season in Southeast Washington. Last year, it posted the second best home record (9-4-4) in the Eastern Conference.
A late, four-game winning streak propelled D.C. United into the MLS playoffs last year, but the club was within striking distance thanks to a league-leading nine draws on the road.
Six weeks into this season, United is still searching for its first away goal and point of the year. At New England on Saturday night (7:30, NewsChannel 8), D.C. will throw style points to the wind as it looks to cure its road woes.
“Sometimes you have to make the game ugly. You’ve got to frustrate the other team to keep them from finding a rhythm,” defender Bobby Boswell said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s tough to go most places in this league. You don’t get a whole lot of chances to score.”
United (2-1-3) has been outscored 6-0 in its two road matches. In a 2-0 loss at New York Red Bulls last weekend, D.C. successfully held its host scoreless in the first half.
But in the 46th minute, a lapse in concentration off a corner kick handed New York a free header and the opening goal. With an offense that has scored a league-worst four goals, United’s back line can’t afford mistakes on set pieces.
“Against the Red Bulls we had our game plan going well and then we gave up one goal and the whole thing went tails up,” Boswell said. “We don’t ever want to be a team that’s known for giving up set pieces.”
On the plus side, rookie Ian Harkes, 22, played the best game of his professional career last weekend as he continues to build chemistry with midfield partner Luciano Acosta and striker Jose Ortiz.
While the trio is capable of slick passing and attractive offense, United will take points against the Revolution anyway they can.
“So many goals in this league come off set pieces and off corners,” Boswell said. “You have to man up and win your individual battle.”