D.C. United vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Where: RFK Stadium.
When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
TV: NewsChannel 8.
Records: United 8-17-4, 28 points; Earthquakes 11-12-6, 39 points.
D.C. probable starters: GK Bill Hamid; Ds Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum, Kofi Opare, Nick DeLeon; MFs Paul Arriola, Marcelo Sarvas, Russell Canouse, Luciano Acosta, Zoltan Stieber; F Deshorn Brown.
S.J. probable starters: GK Andrew Tarbell; Ds Kofi Sarkodie, Francois Affloter, Andres Imperiale, Shea Salinas; MFs Jackson Yueill, Anibal Godoy, Darwin Ceren, Valeri Qazaishvili; Fs Marco Ureña, Chris Wondolowski.
>> ‘We’ve shot ourselves in the foot’: After winning three straight, United took a step back with consecutive defeats to Orlando City and Chicago. Last weekend’s performance in a 3-0 setback against the Fire started well but, like many matches, soon fizzled. “Bunch of chances, but do you really want me to say this again? No. Nobody wants me to say it again,” Coach Ben Olsen said this week. “We’ve shot ourselves in the foot a few times. The majority of the goals is us giving them opportunities rather than teams earning them.”
>> Hardhome: This marks the second-to-last United match at RFK after 22 seasons. With the playoffs out of reach, the farewell will come Oct. 22 against the New York Red Bulls. D.C.’s 5-7-3 home record isn’t terrible compared to the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 2-9-4 mark, but United has recorded 11 goals, gone scoreless seven times and hasn’t defeated a visiting Western Conference opponent (0-2-2). D.C. was 31-9-11 at RFK the previous three regular seasons.
>> Dubious record within reach: United has failed to score in more than half of its matches (15) and is two scoreless efforts from tying the MLS record, set by D.C. in 2010. That year, MLS teams played only 30 matches; they now play 34. Only one forward (Deshorn Brown, who joined the squad in June) has scored twice this season. Midfielder Luciano Acosta has posted a team-high five goals and midfielder Lloyd Sam leads in assists with six.
>>Scouting the Earthquakes: The Earthquakes are thick in the playoff hunt, sitting fifth in a race that will send six teams to postseason. With a month left, they are one point ahead of three teams (Real Salt Lake, Houston and Dallas), just six points behind first-place Vancouver and five behind Portland, Kansas City and Seattle. San Jose is 1-3-2 in the past six matches, with 11 goals conceded in the three defeats. U.S. national team forward Chris Wondolowski has 11 goals and five assists.