D.C. has had a difficult time generating offense through its first three matches, while a late defensive breakdown cost Columbus a chance at its second win its last time out.
United will put their 19-game home unbeaten streak on the line on Saturday against the Crew, who struggled on the road last season with a 4-4-9 record and only 16 goals scored in those games.
D.C. (1-1-1) is also going for its 300th all-time victory, which would put it with Los Angeles as the only two MLS clubs to reach that mark. But to do so, the United likely have to break out on offense after mustering one goal through the first three matches.
Dwayne De Rosario’s return from a two-match suspension for a preseason altercation figured to help boost the attack last Saturday at New York, but the striker had only one shot on goal in a scoreless draw.
The United could use more from De Rosario, who was third on the team last year with seven goals and paced the club with 12 assists, as well as Chris Pontius, who scored a team-best 12 goals last year but has yet to find the back of the net on five shots this season.
They’ve stayed in matches on the strength of goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who made eight saves against New York for his second straight shutout.
“You have to credit our great goalkeeper,” coach Ben Olsen said. “Our defense was able to scramble and make plays. We were disconnected on the offensive end and we just have to get better there. We have to get more possessions of the ball and look to improve on that.”
The Crew also have four points through three matches and are coming off a 1-1 draw last Saturday with San Jose after they gave up a goal in the 74th minute. But it did come six minutes after Glauber headed in a corner kick for his first goal in his third career MLS match.
Two of Columbus’ five goals have been scored by defenders off corner kicks.
“The more important thing is to win, but I feel happy when I am helping my team,” Glauber said. “I hope in the next games I don’t score, but we win. That is more important for me and the Columbus Crew.”
However, Columbus’ offense could be hamstrung on Saturday as Jairo Arrieta will miss the match to represent Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying action. The forward tied for the team lead with nine goals last year despite playing only 18 matches.
United’s last home loss came on March 10, 2012, and they have won four of five at home against Columbus.