MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
06/06/2014 5:29 PM
06/06/2014 5:38 PM
Columbus (4-5-5) at D.C. United (6-4-3), 6:30 p.m.
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - D.C. United will aim for a second consecutive win on Saturday when the club hosts the Columbus Crew at FedEx Field.
United comes into Saturday's tilt in second place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 13 matches, having earned an impressive 1-0 victory over defending champions Sporting Kansas City at RFK Stadium.
Fabian Espindola netted the only goal of the match in the 28th minute when he collected the ball with his back to goal from 25 yards out and struck an apparent cross, which Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg misjudged badly to allow the curling ball to find its way into the upper corner at the far post.
Sporting had an opportunity to equalize when a free kick from Benny Feilhaber was nodded just inches wide of the post by Jacob Peterson, but United back line held firm for an impressive victory.
"It was a battle. [Kansas City], they're a good team," goalkeeper Bill Hamid said. "They're kind of known now this year as the [Real] Salt Lake of the East Coast. They keep possession and they want to break teams down to tire them out. They tried to do that tonight but we stayed strong."
"I think he needs freedom and he needs to be able to offset defenses and not be constricted," United head coach Ben Olsen said. "I think we've given him that here. I certainly think he has been as good as anybody in this league up to this point, but no, it does not surprise me because he has been doing it for a long time in this league, and he is a guy you never wanted to play against as a coach or a player because how unpredictable he is, how ruthless he is and his mentality."
Columbus, meanwhile, is coming off a 1-1 draw against Western Conference powers Real Salt Lake on Wednesday at Crew Stadium.
RSL opened the scoring in the 56th minute when Luis Gil fired home a rebound following a rocket off the foot of Abdoulie Mansally.
But the Crew found an equalizer two minutes from time as Ethan Finlay ran onto the end of a through ball form Ben Speas and looped a gorgeous chipped effort over the head of RSL goalkeeper Jeff Atinella.
"You end up being really proud of them on how they fought back and how they were really determined to get something out of the game but the other side is that we were in that position in the first place," Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter said. "I'm a little bit disappointed with the urgency in the first half. We were playing at home and we really wanted to stampede our game on the opponent and really take it to them and we missed that. I thought it was better in the second half."
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