Two teams which endured disaster seasons last year meet this weekend. Both are attempting to rebuild their squads and fortunes in 2011.
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Toronto FC: Julian De Guzman’s return from injury has been a revelation for the Toronto back line. The fact that his return to match fitness corresponds with Toronto allowing a single goal in two games is no coincidence. The Designated Player was subbed off after 65 minutes against LA midweek, most likely to keep him fit for the clash against D.C. United.
Adrian Cann has benefited greatly from the return of De Guzman, the latter providing an outlet for the occasionally nervy center back.
D.C. United: Charlie Davies is proving to be one of the best offseason signings thus far in the season, leading the league with four goals, in just three games played. He hasn't started a match yet, but he has had to deal with a couple of injury worries since the season has started. With those behind him, it's likely that he will get the start against Toronto. United look like a better team with him on the field, and it is no coincidence that he has been on the field for four of the six goals that United have scored this season. Davies has accounted for all four of those.
Toronto: Toronto’s opening games to the season showed goal-scoring ability that the TFC faithful have not seen in previous seasons. Now that Toronto’s defense is looking sturdy, the offense has not been able to take advantage.
United: The Black and Red have scored in every game this season, but three of their last four goals scored have come from the penalty spot. Goals are goals, sure, but when you are relying on tallies from the spot to earn points, results will be tough to come by. United will need goals from set pieces and open play if they want to start winning games again.
Toronto: Following two straight ties, Toronto need to push for a win against D.C. United this weekend. Winter will be hoping De Guzman will be available for a full 90. Toronto will need Maicon Santos or Alan Gordon to return to the starting for a decent chance at netting a goal or two. If Santos and Gordon can return, Winter will presumably go back to a similar lineup that earned a draw on the road to San Jose last week.
United: Ben Olsen acknowledged after the game against Los Angeles that his team was too willing to lump long balls forward as a way to jump-start the offense. With all the weapons United has in the midfield, Olsen said that his team needs to pass the ball along the floor more. Getting Branko Boskovic in the fold might help with that, but the players themselves should be held accountable for taking advantage of their strengths on the field. If they can't, then goals, and wins, will prove elusive.
Toronto: Since the insertion of Tchani and the return of De Guzman, Toronto’s ability to build out of the back has increased greatly with every game. A full 90 from from both could provide the difference for Toronto against D.C. United.
United: Olsen has a couple of young players on his squad, who just don't know any better and are looking to impress to get more playing time. Players like Ethan White, Chris Korb, and Blake Brettschneider have all played this season and contributed - giving United a youthful advantage over some of their more experienced opponents.
Kosta Christopher: Toronto earn a second consecutive clean sheet on their way to a win at BMO Field. Toronto FC 1-0 D.C. United.
Steven Streff: D.C. still haven't solved the problem of their lack of goals, or conceding them at the other end. Toronto is a difficult place to play, but with Toronto having played on Wednesday night, United will be able to sneak a 1-1 draw, thanks to a goal from Davies again.
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