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MLS Preview: D.C. United - Columbus Crew

After four long months, the fresh start D.C. United and the Columbus Crew have been waiting for is finally here.

With a 12-17-5 mark, the Crew in 2013 finished eight points out of a playoff spot. But that's a record United would have happily preferred over its dismal campaign, during which a leaky defense and the worst attack in MLS history resulted in a 3-24-7 record.

The Eastern Conference clubs will open their 2014 seasons at 7 p.m. Saturday at RFK Stadium.

READ MORE: Goal's full 2014 MLS preview

During the offseason, Columbus parted with veterans Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke and Andy Gruenebaum, as well as the retiring Eddie Gaven, while new coach Gregg Berhalter and Co. rebuilt the defense by bringing in U.S. national team defender Michael Parkhurst, Costa Rican defenders Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez, and goalkeeper Steve Clark.

United also revamped its defensive corps, adding veterans Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin and Cristian Fernandez. The changes didn't stop in the back, however, with USA striker Eddie Johnson bolstering an attack that also picked up streaky forward Fabian Espindola and versatile midfielder Davy Arnaud.

To make matters easier for United, it won't have to deal with speedy Columbus forward Dominic Oduro, who is suspended after receiving a red card in the Crew's 2013 season finale.

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