With the U.S. Open Cup final looming, United is poised to field a reserve team against Toronto in this matchup of Eastern Conference bottom-feeders.One day before the top two teams in MLS go head-to-head, a pair of Eastern Conference bottom-feeders will clash at the other end of the spectrum.
Contrasting that high-profile Seattle Sounders-New York Red Bulls meeting, Saturday afternoon will offer up last-place D.C. United's visit to second-to-last Toronto FC. To further dampen the matchup, United coach Ben Olsen has implied he will use a reserve team and rest his starters ahead of Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup final at Real Salt Lake.
As a result, look for United to roll out a lineup featuring second-stringers, such as homegrown players Conor Shanosky, Collin Martin and Michael Seaton.
Toronto, meanwhile, won't be at full-strength either, with center back Steven Caldwell and midfielder Jonathan Osorio suspended and striker Danny Koevermans likely done for the season with a calf injury. After scoring in Toronto's 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City last weekend, Darel Russell figures to get another start in central midfield while filling in for Osorio.
Toronto also will continue looking for the right forward combination while Robert Earnshaw nears his return from a calf strain, with Bright Dike, Andrew Wiedeman and Justin Braun all options to start.
The match presents an opportunity for both teams to snap long winless droughts, with United at 0-5-2 in its past seven and Toronto enduring an 0-5-3 stretch. This will be the third meeting of the season between the struggling clubs after Toronto grabbed four points at RFK Stadium earlier this year, winning 2-1 in June and drawing 1-1 last month.