D.C. United will attempt to record back-to-back wins for the first time since April when it plays host Wednesday to an Atlanta United team that hasn’t had a match in more than two weeks.
D.C. (6-15-4) snapped an eight-match winless stretch with a 1-0 victory Saturday evening over the Rapids in Colorado.
Although the Black-and-Red needed a bizarre own goal from Colorado’s Jared Watts and a heroic performance from goalkeeper Bill Hamid to seal that win, coach Ben Olsen believes it could be a confidence-builder for the Eastern Conference’s last-place team.
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“We found a way to hang there, and in a tough season, find a way to get a result,” Olsen told mlssoccer.com. “There’s a lot we can get better at, and I think we will, because we brought some good pieces in.”
Further, D.C. has had a surprising amount of success against Atlanta during a season in which it has struggled against everyone else. The Black-and-Red have won both their previous games against the Five Stripes while outscoring them 5-2 in the process.
D.C. United has hit the net only 15 times in 23 games against all other opponents.
Meanwhile, Atlanta (10-7-5) hasn’t played a match since Aug. 6 as it prepares for its move into Mercedes Benz Stadium next month.
The Five Stripes will play D.C. on Wednesday and then the Philadelphia Union this weekend before beginning a six-match homestand at a facility that is also the new home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
“It’s unrealistic to think we can win out, from here on out. Point blank. It just won’t happen,” Atlanta captain Michael Parkhurst told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But we are in a good spot in terms of points per game (1.59). (These are) both winnable games, and both games we want to win.”
Atlanta enters Wednesday in seventh, one spot below the Eastern Conference playoff line, but having played two fewer matches than all of the teams currently in postseason position.
It will hope to carry over the form it had before the 17-day hiatus, when it went unbeaten in six matches, winning four.
While Atlanta didn’t make nearly as many moves during the summer window as its opponents, it did acquire defender Bobby Boswell from D.C. The veteran could make his debut for just his third MLS team in 13 MLS seasons on Wednesday.