D.C. United brace for tough task vs. stingy Charlotte FC

League: MLS

Posted on: 14 Jun, 2024 at 09:50 PM

Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United frequently has trouble scoring goals, though there are signs of improvements in that area.

Their next opportunity comes Saturday night against host Charlotte FC, who have been particularly strong on the defensive end.

Both teams should be refreshed and anxious to see if time off has been beneficial.

Coming off a two-week layoff, D.C. United (4-6-7, 19 points) are trying to snap a five-match winless streak (0-3-2).

"We gave the guys a few days off," said D.C. United coach Troy Lesesne, who also pointed out that the break came at an ideal time.

Charlotte (7-6-4, 25 points), which hasn't played since June 2, has been solid for about six weeks. Since the beginning of May, the team's record is 4-1-2.

"It's a great atmosphere there," Lesesne said. "It's a team that we feel that we can match up well against. Hopefully go there and challenge them for three points."

D.C. United have scored two goals in each of the past two matches since totaling two tallies in the previous three.

Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina is tied atop the MLS list with seven clean sheets this year.

Much of Kahlina's success has come from players in front of him.

Getting the press sorted out and creating havoc for opponents is critical to the system, Charlotte coach Dean Smith said. That's how it worked out in defeating Atlanta 3-2.

"I'm really pleased with how the boys took that information and put it to practice," he said.

Lesesne said D.C. United aren't far from breaking through on a regular basis.

"It's there for us if we can continue to concentrate on chipping away at the things that have hurt us," Lesesne said.

Liel Abada's first MLS brace was a boost for Charlotte in its previous game at Atlanta.

"We (acquired him) because he can score those types of goals," Smith said. "He's really keen on wanting to get better."

D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum's will be out indefinitely after he departed the June 1 match with a knee injury, though surgery isn't likely to be needed.

D.C. United and Charlotte won't meet again until the regular-season finale on Oct. 19.

--Field Level Media