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Week VI - Toronto FC vs DC United - Match Preview

The Reds take on Ben Olsen's United in DC.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup

DC haven't exactly impressed thus far in the season. They sputtered offensively until their 4-0 beatdown of Vancouver - their only win of the season. Still, the veteran group at DC have the ability to put in a big performance at home and the Reds will have to be sharp in order to get any kind of result. DC play an old-school, very MLS style of soccer. They have a few skill players up top - particularly Fabian Espindola, who scored two at Vancouver.

For TFC, the return of Jozy Altidore last weekend showed brief glimpses of what the Reds are capable of. Altidore is a physical presence on the field, and allows Giovinco to do less hard work against centrebacks more than a foot taller than him. Although the game last weekend against New England had a number of fortunate moments, the Reds showed good fight after going down a goal, were able to capitalize on the few chances they created, and ultimately got a decent result on the road.

The battle between Toronto's central midfield players and DC's will be a crucial part of this game. Nick DeLeon has been decent in central midfield beside Marcelo Sarvas, but its undeniable that both Will Johsnon and Michael Bradley have more quality there. If the Reds can generate turnovers in midfield, they can set Altidore and Giovico against a sometimes flat-footed central defensive pairing in Steve Birnbaum and Bobby Boswell.

At the other end, If Perquis and Beitashour can handle Espindola and his tendency to flair out wide, the Reds should be able to hold DC to only a few chances. Watch out for set-pieces, though. Birnbaum has a tendency to get on the end of them, and the Reds historically have trouble with restarts.

The Lineup

football formations

Although the TFC front office expected to be without Justin Morrow after the MLS Disciplinary Committee reviewed a tackle by the fullback, he is available to start this game. Benoit Cheyrou, who was suspended last week after his red card vs. Colorado, may be unavailable to injury along with Tsubasa Endoh, who has missed the last two games with a lower body contusion.

With the players available, expect another reversion to 4-4-2, with Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore looking to provide the goals. After an up-and-down outing against New England, expect Marky Delgado to start on the substitutes bench. Also of note- Nick Hagglund and Eriq Zavaleta will be unavailable as they are with TFC II.

The Outlook

Toronto could very well look to reach the 8 points they held up as their stated goal at the beginning of the season. DC had an uncharacteristic offensive outburst against Vancouver, but TFC have only allowed 5 goals all season - only Colorado has allowed fewer. Expect a low scoring affair, with TFC coming out the victors, 2-1.

The game kicks off at  5 pm, and you can catch it on TSN 4.