The Seattle Sounders are getting ready for their first road trip of the season, but it represents more than that to defender Marc Burch.
Burch is clearly not happy that D.C. United opted against keeping him and will return to face his former club Saturday night.
The left back spent the previous five seasons with D.C. (1-2-1), starting in 76 of 93 appearances. The club asked him to renegotiate his contract, and that let Burch know that he wasn’t wanted back in the nation’s capital.
“They had the opportunity to keep me and they didn’t,” Burch told the Sounders’ official website. “I don’t believe that their left back is better than I am, but if that’s what they think, then that’s what they think. It’s time to prove that we have a much better team here and I’m excited to be here.”
Current United left back Daniel Woolard chose not to respond to those comments.
“It is what it is,” Woolard told United’s official website. “I’m just trying to go out there and win the game for our fans and get three points.”
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid knows this is a big game for Burch, who has played every minute of his new club’s first three matches.
“Obviously any time you play against your old club you’re motivated to go out there and play,” Schmid said. “Sometimes you can be over-motivated, that can work against you a little bit.”
Burch likely won’t get a warm reception from the D.C. fans.
“RFK Stadium used to be one of the best places in the league to play at,” he said. “Now it’s Seattle, for sure.”
Seattle (2-1-0) went 9-4-5 on the road last season and has won two of three MLS visits to RFK Stadium. The Sounders also memorably won the first of three straight U.S. Open Cup titles by beating United at RFK in 2009.
After winning its first two matches, Seattle fell 1-0 to San Jose last Saturday. Midfielder David Estrada failed to add to his team-high total of four goals.
D.C. is looking to build momentum after earning its first victory last Friday, 4-1 at home over FC Dallas. Maicon Santos scored twice and Nick DeLeon and Danny Cruz also had goals.
“It’s nice to win for the fans here,” coach Ben Olsen said. “We haven’t given them much but I thought we put on a pretty good show.”
United goalkeeper Bill Hamid has missed the last three matches with an ankle injury and is listed as questionable. Joe Willis has started in his place.
Olsen will probably have midfielder Andy Najar available. The Honduran returned to the team this week after missing the last two matches due to Olympic qualifying.
United’s Brandon McDonald is suspended due to a reckless tackle in the 20th minute against Dallas.
McDonald posted on his official Twitter account, “Not to thrilled with this 1 Game ban!! #HEATED!!”