D.C. United and Real Salt Lake meet for the first time since September 2022, when they played to a scoreless draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Black-and-Red sit at 8th in the Eastern Conference, while Real Salt Lake is currently in the 11 spot of the Western Conference standings. It will be an interesting meeting as RSL has been putting in quite a strong performance as of late, especially on the road. The visitors come to the District off a draw with NYCFC (0-0) and have won or drawn 12 of their last 14 matches across all competitions. RSL will be lacking some depth as Rubio Rubin, Anderson Julio, Jefferson Savarino, and Braian Ojeda are all on international duty.
As for Rooney’s men, they’ve put in solid performances of their own, winning or drawing five of their last seven regular season matches. for the Black-and-Red, it’s all about finding consistency as the season has crossed the halfway mark and the pressure increases to remain above the playoff line. Their last road trip to Atlanta did not go as planned, with a fiery 5-Stripes offense dealing D.C. a 3-1 loss at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Wayne Rooney said, “We’re creating some really good chances, and it’s been the story of the season really because we should have a lot more goals. We should, really. I’ve talked to the players about having composure, more composure in the box, and maybe not snatching chances.”
The Black-and-Red will hopefully lean into this composure and patience to take away three points tonight.
Key Player: Christian Benteke
Leading the league in aerial duels, we’ve got confidence that Benteke will always get the job done for D.C. United. A clinical goalscorer, Benteke’s experience and instinct make him one to watch.
Watch Out For: Zac MacMath
MacMath could be the man for D.C. to beat tonight. He held off NYCFC to a scoreless draw just last weekend. We’ll be interested to see how he and Christian Benteke square off at Audi Field.
Challenges: D.C. United will need to remain consistent and patient to claim points against an RSL team that has been notably strong on the road.
Previously: The last time D.C. United and Real Salt Lake met in 2022 they played to a scoreless draw.
D.C. United Availability:
Out: Martin Rodriguez (knee), Nigel Robertha (ankle), Mohanad Jeahze (ankle), Ted Ku-DiPietro (ankle), Taxi Fountas (international duty), Victor Pálsson (international duty)
Real Salt Lake Availability:
Out: Zack Farnsworth (thigh), Erik Holt (shoulder), Rubio Rubin (international duty), Anderson Julio (international duty), Jefferson Savarino (international duty), Braian Ojeda (international duty)
Questionable: Bryan Oviedo (calf)
Location: Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET
Referee: Malik Badawi
Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV