Simply put, life has not been fun for D.C. United and Toronto FC this season.
The two clubs have been rooted to the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference for some time, matching each other futile step for futile step in league play this season. They will clash at RFK Stadium Saturday night, desperately looking for a result that can be the catalyst for a strong final two months.
The teams are intertwined on a number of levels. TFC president and general manager Kevin Payne is in his first season north of the border after running the D.C. front office. TFC coach Ryan Nelsen was a former D.C. United captain and teammate of current D.C. coach Ben Olsen. Current D.C. captain Dwayne De Rosario spent two-plus seasons with Toronto, his hometown team, before a notorious falling out that saw him dealt away in 2011.
The latest connection between the squads involves a recent trade, with D.C. prying second-year playmaker Luis Silva in exchange for allocation money on July 9. Since the trade, Silva has helped spark D.C.'s anemic attack, scoring a team-leading three goals in just four games. He returned from a concussion in last week's loss to Montreal, assisting on on-loan forward Conor Doyle's equalizing goal before Impact forward Marco Di Vaio sealed the 2-1 result.
While D.C. seems to have won the trade, Toronto holds bragging rights from this season's last meeting. The Reds snapped an 11-game winless skid with a 2-1 triumph at RFK Stadium on June 15. In order to replicate that feat, they will have to do so without midseason midfield signing Matias Laba, as he fractured his right big toe and is expected to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks.
The match also marks the end of TFC forward Jeremy Brockie's loan spell, as the New Zealand native's time in MLS will end, although he has expressed his desire to return. He has a goal and three assists in 14 games.