Struggling Sounders search for solution vs. DC United

The Seattle Sounders got off to slow starts each of the past two seasons before winning the Western Conference title.

But never in their 10-year history, while making the playoffs every season, have they seen a start like this.

The Sounders (2-7-2) have been shut out more times (eight) than they have goals (seven) so far this season.

Midfielder Cristian Roldan called out his Seattle teammates after last Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake, the team’s third straight shutout defeat.

“Disappointing, lackluster. Just felt that there wasn’t a sense of bite within our team,” Roldan told MLSsoccer.com. “The morale of the team is obviously low right now, it’s down. But this is MLS. You win three games in a row, you’re right back in it.”

The Sounders, who are tied for last place in the West, will play host to D.C. United (2-5-3), the Eastern Conference cellar dwellers, on Saturday night at CenturyLink Stadium.

Seattle did get some reinforcements last weekend. Leading scorer Will Bruin and midfielder Victor Rodriguez returned to the lineup.

Bruin, the only Sounders player with more than one goal this season (three), missed the previous two matches with a torn plantar fascia. Rodriguez made his season debut after being sidelined since the preseason with a knee sprain.

D.C. United has played eight of its first 10 matches on the road this season as its new stadium is completed. D.C. has four more road games before its inaugural match July 14 at Audi Field.

“We’re very excited. We’ve been waiting for our own stadium for a decade,” D.C coach Ben Olsen said after last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium. “Los Angeles got this team (LAFC) and built this beautiful stadium so quickly, but we’ve been fighting for one for 10 years. It’s a special and transformative time for our club … “

D.C. has claimed points in each of its past two matches, with a 3-1 victory at San Jose before the draw at LAFC.

“First of all, four points in two games is quite good for us,” D.C. midfielder Zoltan Stieber said. “I think the chemistry is there, every game it’s getting better, so we have some good stuff going on the pitch and hopefully it can continue.”

The Sounders are 8-2-2 all time against D.C. United, including a 4-1-1 at home. Seattle has not lost to D.C. in the past seven meetings (6-0-1) dating to 2011, including five wins in a row.