Union-United Preview

JEFF BARTL (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

D.C. United's home unbeaten streak came to an end largely due to the scoring woes that have plagued them through the young season.

They'll look to get back on track Sunday against a Philadelphia Union team that hasn't won in three trips to D.C.

United (1-4-1) have scored only two goals while getting shut out four times, including a 2-0 home loss to New York on April 13 that extended their scoreless streak to 248 minutes. It marked their second straight defeat at RFK Stadium following a franchise-record 19-game home unbeaten run.

"We've got to figure something out," forward Chris Pontius told the team's official website. "We can't keep playing this game of trying to keep shutouts all the time. We are going to give up goals throughout the season. We need to be able to put some away to take some pressure off our defense."

D.C. has failed to score in two straight games, including a 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on April 5. Pontius assisted on the team's most recent goal in a 2-1 loss to Columbus on March 23 that ended the home unbeaten streak.

"We're easy to play against from a defensive side and an offensive side," coach Ben Olsen said. "Are we dynamic enough? We're pretty predictable in the way we go about things. That's just who we are right now. We've got to stay together and dig our way out of it. That's what we need to be focused on right now."

United, who have a league-worst minus-5 goal differential, have scored in each of the seven all-time meetings with Philadelphia while going 2-0-1 with a pair of shutouts in the last three.

"Our focus needs to be very, very narrow," Olsen said. "Our sole focus needs to get a result against Philadelphia this weekend."

The Union are 0-1-2 in their three trips to D.C. and hope to earn their first win there after an exciting 1-all draw with Toronto on April 13. Jack McInerney scored in the second minute of stoppage time, though he believes Philadelphia (2-2-2) has plenty to improve.

'That has to be a game that we win, and looking back on it later in the season it's going to be disappointing," McInerney said. "It might feel good now, but it's going to be disappointing later."

Sebastien Le Toux returned to the starting lineup after being a reserve in a 1-all draw with Columbus on April 6, and forward Conor Casey thinks the offense has started coming together.

"We didn't do a very good job (last weekend) but we're starting to build those relationships, which is good," Casey said. "(McInerney and Le Toux have) played together before and now I'm starting to build some relationships with those guys. It's coming along."

McInerney, the team leader with four goals, thinks the trio has a lot of potential to succeed.

"If all three of us are going to be on the field at the same time, it's a really attacking lineup," McInerney said. "It's going to take time."

Philadelphia has gone winless in 10 of its last 12 road games, though McInerney has scored in five of the last seven away from home. He's scoreless in five career games versus D.C.