Fire-United Preview

The Associated Press

After finishing with the worst record in franchise history last year, D.C. United overhauled their squad. The results haven't been stellar so far.

United hope to end the fifth-longest winless streak in MLS history when they host the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

D.C. went 3-24-7 in 2013 and scored a league-low 22 goals, eight fewer than the next-lowest total. To try to improve the offense, United traded for Eddie Johnson, who recorded nine goals in 20 starts for Seattle last season, and acquired Fabian Espindola after he scored nine times for New York.

But D.C. (0-2-0) is one of two teams still scoreless this season, with Johnson and Espindola combining for four shots. United have put only three shots on goal in losses to Columbus and Toronto FC.

"The rhythm and partnerships have to get better, our commitment in the box, set pieces, all of these things just have to be elevated," coach Ben Olsen told the team's official website. "It's not gonna be easy."

Last Saturday's 1-0 loss in Toronto extended United's winless stretch to a club-record 14 matches (0-11-3), with the last victory coming against Montreal on Aug. 3.

"We need a win this weekend," Olsen said. "It's a winnable game, certainly, being at home, and we're looking forward to it."

The Fire (0-1-2) don't sound ready to overlook D.C., though.

"I think maybe when you don't know what to expect, you can take them for granted. That's something we're going to have to avoid. It could be a danger," midfielder Matt Watson told the team's official website. "We're just going to have to go out there and play with as much passion as we can."

Chicago comes off a 1-all home draw with New York on Sunday. Jeff Larentowicz headed a corner kick from Harrison Shipp into the net in the sixth minute to put the Fire ahead, but they surrendered the equalizer in the 21st minute.

Reigning MLS Most Valuable Player Mike Magee registered two shots in his season debut after sitting out with a hamstring injury. Magee, who scored 15 goals in 22 games for Chicago after being traded from Los Angeles in May, has three goals and an assist over his last six matchups with D.C.

United will look to take advantage of a Chicago defense that will be without starting outside backs Lovel Palmer and Gonzalo Segares. Palmer is finishing a two-game suspension for violent conduct in a 1-all draw in Portland on March 16, while Segares is nursing ankle and knee injuries.

Chicago is 5-1-3 over the last nine meetings, outscoring D.C. 17-8 and posting shutouts in two of the last three.