MLS GAME PREVIEW

Real Salt Lake versus D.C. United preview

May 22, 2009

AP-SOC--MLS-Real Salt Lake-United Preview Real Salt Lake-United Preview By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN STATS Senior Writer

D.C. United has only one loss this season. They appear to have a great chance of avenging it Saturday night.

They will host Real Salt Lake, which beat United last month but has yet to score a goal on the road this season or win a game at RFK Stadium in its history.

D.C. (3-1-6) is unbeaten in six league matches (2-0-4) since a 2-1 road loss to Real Salt Lake (3-5-1) on April 11. Javier Morales scored the game-winner for Real Salt Lake in the 80th minute of a testy match that featured six yellow cards.

Real Salt Lake (3-5-1), though, has three losses and one draw in four visits to the nation's capital. United has a 12-4 scoring advantage in those games.

RSL is also 0-4-1 in its last five matches overall after a 2-0 home loss to Kansas City last weekend. Despite a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal, RSL suffered its first home loss.

"I think the effort was there, we just weren't good enough," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "Just too many players had bad nights tonight. Bad nights -- not average nights, not mediocre nights, but bad nights."

His players weren't as gracious, with RSL defender Chris Wingert calling the game "our worst performance of the season, especially at home."

If it was the worst performance of the season for RSL, that is hardly comforting as it ventures back on the road. The club has been outscored 7-0 in losing all four matches away from home.

D.C. is the highest scoring team in the league with 17 goals, and has come back to gain one win and three ties when trailing in the final five minutes of a match this season. United scored twice in the final 15 minutes -- goals by Luciano Emilio and Santino Quaranta -- to rally for a 2-all draw at MLS leader Chivas USA last Saturday.

"It's about a belief in themselves and in each other," D.C. coach Tom Soehn said. "It's a no-die attitude. No matter what happens, we're going to fight through adversity. Adversity sometimes being the officiating, sometimes being the opponent. You have to fight through all of that and today they did a great job of doing that."

Both clubs are struggling with goalkeeper issues.

Nick Rimando and Chris Seitz have combined to start the first nine games for RSL, but third-stringer Kyle Reynish will likely get the nod Saturday with the other two injured. Seitz will be out four to six weeks after suffering a separated shoulder in last week's loss.

D.C. has already used three goalkeepers this season, and has not settled on a starter. Louis Crayton has started six matches, and may be Soehn's choice against RSL.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press