Although D.C. United have played well while advancing in the U.S. Open Cup, they haven't been able to carry over that success to MLS competition.
United will attempt to halt their longest-ever winless streak Saturday night when they host a Toronto FC club that's also mired in a lengthy skid.
Dwayne De Rosario has managed one goal in his eight MLS contests, but recorded a hat trick to lead D.C. to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday.
United (1-10-3) have two U.S. Open Cup victories, but they've gone a team-record 12 straight league matches without a victory.
"It's nice to be continuing in the Cup, but we need to start performing in this way in the regular season, and that starts this weekend against Toronto," coach Ben Olsen told the league's official website.
United played to a scoreless draw at New England last Saturday and have been outscored 22-5 during their 0-9-3 stretch. They've been shut out five times in the past seven games and in each of the last three.
"Some goals would help," Olsen said. "We put our defenders under such stress because of not being able to put the ball in the net."
Last in the Eastern Conference, history suggest that D.C. might have a decent shot at ending its winless stretch against the team two points ahead of it.
D.C. is 10-3-2 all-time against Toronto (1-7-5) and has gone 4-0-1 in the past five meetings. United outscored the Reds 6-1 in winning all three matchups last season.
Though he's been relegated to reserve duty in two of his last three MLS matches, De Rosario may have a good chance to build on his U.S. Open Cup performance as he has five goals in his last three games in this series.
Short-handed TFC hasn't been much better than United of late, as its winless streak reached 11 with a 1-all draw against Philadelphia on June 1. Toronto has gone 1-17-9 in its past 27 league contests.
Jonathan Osorio's third goal of the season was his team's first in three matches.
Injuries have been a major problem for TFC, which has been without defender Logan Emory, striker Justin Braun, fullback Richard Eckersley and goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
"I don't like to use injuries as an excuse because every team has them, but I think those games that we should have won were matches in which they probably hurt us," coach Ryan Nelsen said.
Danny Koevermans, who hadn't played since injuring his knee in July, returned to action in the final four minutes last Saturday. The striker led the team in goals the past two seasons and has scored in each of his two career meetings with United.
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- Dwayne De Rosario
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