Fire-D.C. United Preview
Though D.C. United went winless on its stretch of three straight road matches, it's sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Back at home, United looks to end its longest winless drought of the campaign Wednesday night against a Chicago Fire club that has not won on the road in more than a year.
Wayne Rooney's successful penalty kick in the 90th minute allowed D.C. (7-4-4) to salvage a point with a 1-1 draw against 10-man New England on Saturday. The result ended United's three-game swing of road fixtures that secured just two of an available nine points on stops that also included Toronto and Houston.
"I think the guys showed character," midfielder Russell Canouse told D.C. United's official Twitter page after grabbing a point from the Revolution.
"It's OK. It feels like a lost two points … We'll have to live with it."
The good news for D.C., though, is that it will enter this contest with a one-point lead over Philadelphia in the East.
United will play its next four matches at home, however, the upcoming break for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and some Copa America play will interrupt that stretch. Regardless, United should feel good about its chances of returning to the win column in the mid-week.
That's because the Fire (4-5-5) are 0-13-5 on the road since a 2-1 victory at Orlando City on May 26, 2018. Chicago has obviously been much better at home in 2019, where it's amid a 4-0-2 stretch following Saturday's 1-1 draw with New York City FC.
C.J. Sapong scored in the 28th minute for the hosts, but NYCFC equalized on 40 minutes to tie the match and end the day's scoring.
"We want to preserve the result when we get it," Sapong, who snapped his five-game goal drought with his fifth of 2019, told the Fire's official website. "We've got to do better. I think everybody knows that.
"We're hovering around the (playoff line in the East) and we want to push ourselves over it. Obviously, there is a lot of soccer to be played, but it's important that we find our identity with continuity and results on the field."
In somewhat of a surprise move, late signing Kenneth Kronholm started in goal Saturday for Chicago in place of David Ousted, who played every game prior. Kronholm will again get the start versus D.C., according to the club.
"I think we've said in the past that the German-American Kronholm was our long-term target and we always thought that he is going to improve our style," Fire coach Veljko Paunovic told the MLS official website.
It's also uncertain if forward Nemanja Nikolic, tied with Sapong for the team's goal lead, will be in the starting XI on Wednesday after coming on as a sub versus NYCFC.
D.C. took four of the possible six points against the Fire in 2018.
Updated May 27, 2019