D.C. United at San Jose Earthquakes
Where: Avaya Stadium, San Jose.
When: Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
TV: NewsChannel 8.
Records: United 1-5-2, 5 points; Earthquakes 2-5-3, 9 points.
D.C. probable starters: GK Steve Clark; Ds Nick DeLeon, Steve Birnbaum, Frederic Brillant, Oniel Fisher; MFs Zoltan Stieber, Chris Durkin, Paul Arriola, Luciano Acosta, Yamil Asad; F Darren Mattocks.
San Jose probable starters: GK Andrew Tarbell; Ds Nick Lima, Jimmy Ockford, Harold Cummings, Florian Jungwirth, Shea Salinas; MFs Magnus Eriksson, Jackson Yueill, Anibal Godoy, Valeri Qazaishvili; F Danny Hoesen.
Outlook: United is playing the third of eight straight on the road before Audi Field opens July 14. With consecutive matches in California, D.C. will stay out west and train at UCLA before facing expansion Los Angeles FC. Ben Olsen’s team has scored the first goal in three straight games, all in the first 10 minutes, but since blanking Columbus, United has conceded three goals in each of the past two outings to drop 3-2 decisions.
Reflecting on last Saturday’s setback at Real Salt Lake, Olsen said: “There were good performances from eight, nine guys, but unfortunately, you need good performances from everybody and then you have to have a winning mentality and understand moments and what the game needs to get a result. That is what we are striving for.”
The away winless streak has reached 10 (0-8-2), the last victory coming in August at Colorado. Since last May, United is 1-15-2 on the road while allowing 2.5 goals per match. Olsen will have to make two lineup changes to compensate for the absences of left back Joseph Mora (red card) and midfielder Ulises Segura (knee injury). The top candidates to join the lineup are Oniel Fisher and Yamil Asad.
United is 3-1-1 in the past five meetings with San Jose. Things, however, are looking up for the Earthquakes, who ended a seven-game winless streak by triumphing at Minnesota, 3-1, last weekend and earning a 2-2 draw at Vancouver on Wednesday. Chris Wondolowski, who has been used as a super-sub the past two matches, is nine goals behind Landon Donovan’s MLS career record of 145.
Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns
Where: Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds.
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Live streams: go90, nwslsoccer.com
Records: Spirit 1-4-2, 5 points; Thorns 2-3-3, 8 points.
Outlook: Touted as a playoff contender, Washington has been slow to build chemistry with new personnel and posted two goals in the past four matches (0-2-2). Rose Lavelle, a U.S. national team midfielder, has yet to play because of hamstring issues. Canadian international Christine Sinclair leads the league in goals (five) and assists (three) for reigning champion Portland. Nigeria’s Francisca Ordega has scored three times for Washington. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in Portland four weeks ago.
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