D.C. United would seem to be the more desperate team on Saturday, having yet to win in five matches and facing a daunting road schedule while its new stadium is being completed.
Yet, the Columbus Crew (3-2-0) is feeling a little unnerved as well with the possibility of losing three straight for the first time since May 2014 when coach Gregg Berhalter was entering his third month in charge.
The Crew most recently lost 1-0 at Chicago on April 7 despite a dominating performance. Columbus captain Wil Trapp scoffs at the notion that D.C. (0-3-2) will have more urgency to get three points.
“Look, we’ve lost two games in a row so we’re the same,” he said. “Our energy, our preparation and realizing that this week is all we’re trying to go is 1-0 and win the game. That’s our focus.”
The game will be played on artificial turf at the 34,000-seat Navy-Marines Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. It will the second and last “home” game for D.C. United before christening Audi Field in Washington on July 14.
D.C.’s other home match was at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland, on March 17 vs. Houston. United plays 12 of its first 14 games on the road.
“All games are important but this one being that it’s at home, the second game we have at home before July, there’s a little more importance on it,” D.C. defender Nick DeLeon said.
Still, D.C. coach Ben Olsen said now is not the time to panic with 29 matches left, including a bevy of home games later.
“I wouldn’t classify anything as a must-win unless you’re in a situation down the stretch where you have to win to get into the playoffs or it’s a playoff game,” Olsen said. “I think it’s a silly term.”
—Field Level Media