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D.C. United bid to pick up steam vs. struggling Crew

Apr 23, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA;  D.C. United midfielder Theodore Ku-DiPietro (35) dribbles the ball as New England Revolution midfielder Damian Rivera (72) defends in the second half at Audi Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United look for a second straight victory for interim coach Chad Ashton when they play at the Columbus Crew on Saturday.

A 3-2 victory against New England last Saturday lifted spirits following the firing of Hernan Losada three days earlier. D.C. United (3-4-0, 9 points) had lost four in a row prior to defeating the Revolution.

“To finally get the three points has created some momentum behind us,” D.C. United midfielder Chris Durkin said. “Now we need to keep that momentum going. It’s one thing to say we support Chad, now we have to show it on the field.”

The Crew (2-3-3, 9 points) are struggling even more than D.C. United.

Winless in five straight matches (0-3-2), Columbus hasn’t scored in the past four contests but did manage a 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City last Saturday.

“We’ve got to continue to focus on our strengths and right now our strengths are we’re a very good defensive team and we have a good mentality,” Crew coach Caleb Porter said. “The mindset now is on these three points and scoring goals.

“I keep saying that again on scoring goals because we’re not doing cartwheels over another game not scoring goals. We’re on a draw, right? But in any season, you gotta stop the bleeding.”

Columbus may again be without leading scorer Lucas Zelarayan, who missed the team’s last match due to a right knee strain. He is questionable to play against D.C. United. Of the Crew’s 10 goals, the midfielder has scored four and assisted on two.

Still, Durkin views the Crew as a formidable opponent.

“It’s a team in Columbus that has a lot of good individual talent and a good midfield,” he said. “We need to win that midfield battle and if we win that midfield battle, I think we win the game.”

The Crew have never gone five straight MLS matches without scoring a goal. They will try to avoid being shut out at home for a record third consecutive game.

— Field Level Media