D.C. United looks to get back in the win column tonight as they welcome Nashville SC to Audi Field. After the Black-and-Red fought their way to a 4-match winning streak across all competitions, they’ve lost their last two matches. Last weekend in MLS play, D.C. United couldn’t get anything together in a 2-0 loss to FC Cincinnati, and they followed that up with a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday.
With Nashville currently sitting 3rd in the Eastern Conference standings, it’s yet another test for D.C. United, who are sitting in 8th place and looking to stay above the playoff line. They are looking to minimize mistakes on defense and continue to generate the offense needed to put some goals on the board. Nashville could be missing the heart of their defense, and there is a prime opportunity to take advantage of the hole that remains in the middle of Nashville’s back line. However, former D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis has been terrific, which means that D.C. will need to pressure him by putting balls on frame. A quick start will help, as Nashville is known to get stronger as the match progresses.
Key Player: Pedro Santos
D.C. United could really use some production from Pedro Santos. After 23 goals and 34 assists in league play entering this season, he has just 1 assist on the season so far. He was brought to Audi Field to generate offense, but so far he’s been a non-factor in a lot of matches. It would be great for him to show the home fans what made him so dangerous when he was in Columbus.
Watch Out For: Hany Mukhtar and Fafà Picault
Hany Mukhtar is the reigning league MVP, and so far in 2023 he’s just picked up where he left off. He has 6 goals on the season, including a hat trick last weekend against Chicago, and 5 assists as well. He’s the guy that Nashville looks to in order to generate offense. Fafà Picault has poured it on lately, with 2 goals in his last 3 matches. D.C. United will have to make sure he doesn’t get into space because he can be dangerous inside the box with quick feet and quick shots.
Challenges: Nashville has earned results in 5 of their last 6 league matches, including 2 wins in a row (3 if you count their midweek U.S. Open Cup win over FC Dallas). D.C. United, on the other hand, have lost 2 straight and are looking to keep their playoff positioning.
Previously: D.C. United only played Nashville once last season, and it was not a great match. On national TV, Nashville came to Audi Field and put the beatdown on the Black-and-Red, winning 3-1.
Nashville SC Availability:
Out: Nick DePuy (lower body injury)
Questionable: Walker Zimmerman (lower body injury)
D.C. United Availability:
Out: Martin Rodriguez (knee), Nigel Robertha (ankle), Mohanad Jeahze (thigh), Steven Birnbaum (hip), Andy Najar (calf),
Pedro Santos (thigh)
Questionable: Ted Ku-DiPietro (ankle)
Location: Audi Field, Washington, DC
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET
Referee: Nima Saghafi
Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV