Union-United Preview

D.C. United have one loss in their last eight games but are not

yet in position for their first playoff berth since 2007. One of

the team’s latest acquisitions may help it move closer toward

ending that drought.

Dwayne De Rosario is expected to make his highly anticipated

debut for D.C. when it welcomes Eastern Conference-leading

Philadelphia to RFK Stadium on Saturday night.

United are 2-1-5 in their last eight and sit one point behind

Houston for the 10th spot in the postseason race.

That may change with De Rosario now on the team. The five-time

Best XI honoree and two-time MLS Cup MVP was acquired from New York

on Monday for midfielder Dax McCarty.

De Rosario, who has played on four league championship squads,

has 80 goals over his 11 seasons and needs one more to pass Brian

McBride for 11th on the all-time list.

“We signed one of the best players MLS has ever seen,” coach Ben

Olsen told the league’s official website. “In order to gain a

quality piece we gave up a quality player in Dax McCarty, but we

feel that De Rosario is a game-changer that will help us in our

push for playoffs.”

D.C. (4-5-6) also acquired defender Brandon McDonald from San

Jose on Monday in exchange for allocation money.

The injury-plagued United could use the help after defenders Jed

Zayner (knee) and Daniel Woolard (back) were hurt earlier this

week. Leading scorer Charlie Davies, however, returned to practice

after suffering a minor ankle sprain in a 2-all draw with Houston

last weekend.

“It’s good,” he said. “I’m looking forward to Saturday.”

Davies, whose eight goals have him tied for the league lead,

gave his team a short-lived lead in the second half against the

Dynamo with his second in as many games.

He might have a more difficult time scoring against the Union,

who have allowed eight goals during a 3-1-3 stretch.

Philadelphia (7-4-5) gave up two of those to visiting Chivas USA

last Saturday but had one of its best scoring performances of the

season in a 3-2 win, its first in five matches.

After sitting out one game to nurse an injured knee, Danny

Mwanga scored the tiebreaking goal – and his team-best fifth of the

season – in the 82nd minute.

“We’ve found a very good group of players and we’ve started to

believe we can do something special,” coach Peter Nowak said. “I

hope and wish it will continue this way.”

To keep rolling, Nowak’s team could use a better performance on

the road, where it’s 2-4-1. Philadelphia needs one win to match the

total from its 2010 inaugural season.

“Being consistent on the road is one thing we want to improve,”

the former United coach said.

The Union beat D.C. 3-2 in their home debut last year as

Sebastien Le Toux scored all three goals, but they fell 2-0 at RFK

on Aug. 22.