United-Toronto FC Preview

As poor as the defense was in their match earlier this week,

D.C. United figure to have an easier time against their next

opponent.

United take to the road Saturday looking to hand pointless

Toronto FC the worst start in MLS history.

Following consecutive victories, D.C. lost 5-3 at San Jose on

Wednesday – the most goals it has allowed since a 5-1 loss to

Columbus in 1999.

United (4-3-3) had given up only six goals in their previous

seven matches but surrendered three 12 minutes apart in the first

half to trail 3-1 at halftime.

“We got punished,” said midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, who scored

for the second straight game. “Teams like that, any chance you

give, they are going to finish it, and we saw that tonight.

“But away from home, three goals, you think that’s good enough

to at least come away with a point, and we didn’t. We came away

with nothing, and we’re disappointed about that part.”

United scored at least three goals for a third straight game,

but Joe Willis made just two saves as their seven-game unbeaten

streak came to an end.

“We are going to look back and learn from this game,” midfielder

Perry Kitchen said, “but all of our focus is now on Toronto.”

D.C. has posted shutout victories in its last two visits to

Toronto and is 4-2-0 there all-time.

Toronto (0-7-0) has scored six goals, tied for second-fewest in

the Eastern Conference, and has given up a league-high 16. It’s the

only team in MLS yet to earn a point – every other club has at

least seven.

A defeat in this contest will make Toronto the first team ever

to open a season with eight consecutive losses. It matched Kansas

City’s league record-worst 0-7-0 start from 1999 with a 3-2 road

loss to Real Salt Lake last Saturday.

Toronto has been outscored 23-10 while going 0-8-3 since its

last win in league play, 2-1 over Colorado on Sept. 17.

Last Saturday’s loss was a particularly tough one. Toronto’s

Doneil Henry scored his first MLS goal in the 77th minute to tie

the game at 2, but Salt Lake scored in stoppage time.

“It was a very painful defeat for us,” defender Julian de Guzman

told the team’s official website. “It’s not even a question if we

are working hard or not, it’s pretty obvious that guys are

continuously giving their best, 110 percent. We just have to keep

our heads up.”

Toronto will try to build off a scoreless draw against Montreal

in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals on

Wednesday.

It was the club’s first shutout of the year. Despite failing to

win and the fact that it didn’t count in the league standings, the

tie was considered a step in the right direction by coach Aron

Winter, who admitted playing somewhat conservatively.

“It’s important for the confidence for the players to have a

good result,” Winter said. “I think 0-0 is a good result.”