By Charles Boehm
D.C. United will look to extend their four-game unbeaten streak when the expansion Montreal Impact visit RFK Stadium on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet+).
United scrapped their way to a 2-1 comeback victory over the New England Revolution in a physical match in Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday afternoon and are bracing for a similar showdown against Montreal. The Impact are the MLS leaders in fouls and are coached by former United midfielder Jesse Marsch, who has stamped his uncompromising personality on the Quebec club in his first head coaching role.
Montreal sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with an 1-5-1 record, while D.C. have climbed into third place (2-2-2). Yet on Tuesday United head coach Ben Olsen told the Washington Post that “they’re certainly a better team than their record indicates,” suggesting that he’s preparing his team for another gritty, edgy contest.
“They’ve been very organized and pretty in sync with each other so far,” said Olsen of the Impact. “They lost a couple [games] late that they deserved more out of. That’s part of their process: finding ways to win games. That’s our process too.
“They’re in every game, they grind, and they have a couple of individuals who can really put you on your heels and create some magic.”
Olsen’s back line, which may be shorthanded due to injured center backs Dejan Jakovic (ankle) and Emiliano Dudar (hamstring), will be on the lookout for Montreal target man Justin Braun and former United man Justin Mapp, a tricky, but inconsistent, winger capable of producing moments of brilliance. Brazilian midfielder Felipe Martins is also one to watch.
D.C. face a quick turnaround for their next match, a Sunday evening tangle at RFK with hated Atlantic Cup rivals the New York Red Bulls.