DC United travel to Toyota Park on Sunday, June 2nd (5pm) to take on the Chicago Fire and look to improve upon their worst start in their history. And despite their unsettling performances to date, the recent signing of Sainey Nyassi may be just he uplift that DC United need to unlock their offensive drought. The former New England Revolution midfielder joins United after seven successful seasons in the MLS.
The 24-year-old will look to make an immediate impact for the Black & Red through the midfield and may have arrived at the right time as nearly every member of DC United have struggled or are currently struggling with dips in form. Nyassi brings loads of pace and ability on the ball which will allow DC to thrive from the wingers – something in which Chris Pontius, Marcos Sanchez and Nick DeLeon have not been able to do regularly.
Another bright spot in the DC United ranks is that of Canadian midfielder, Kyle Porter. Since Porter has broken into Ben Olsen's starting XI, Olsen has stressed the message according to The Washington Post "Don't be okay with just being a starter now." At only 23, Porter is going to have to battle out Pontius and DeLeon for the wide positions, along with the newly acquired Nyassi; however, the added competition can bring nothing but progress to the squad – so we hope.
Although DC has the league's worst record, another storyline may take over on Sunday, and his name is Maicon Santos. Santos joined the Fire this summer in the MLS Re-Entry Draft after scoring seven goals for DC United last season. Santos may have plenty to prove to his former club and may just find himself on the scoresheet on Sunday. In terms of the international matches during the coming week, the Fire will be without goalkeeper Sean Johnson and their talented midfielder of Victor Pineda which may allow more room to work for Dwayne De Rosario – should he even get the nod.
Not only will Santos look to break down an already frail DC United back line, so will the newly acquired Mike Magee and Bakary Soumare. The former LA Galaxy member brings speed to the Chicago attack and a real eye for goal as he's tallied 42 career MLS goals in 235 regular season appearances. As Magee returns to his hometown, it's nothing like a true homecoming than scoring in front of the passionate fans at Toyota Park. As for Soumare who was re-acquired from the Philadelphia Union will hope to bring his experience from France and Germany to the current MLS system which should allow him to flourish in a fairly solid Chicago side.
After an increasingly present sense of frustration sensed by the DC United captain after Ben Olsen's choice to remove him from the starting XI. De Ro told MLSSoccer.com "I'm just watching the ball go over my head. In that respect, I'm not really being used to my strength. It never has been." Certainly, leaving the captain out of the starting XI may have been a questionable decision; however, the decision may bring a fire out in his play starting against the Chicago Fire. He went on to say "In the midfield and building up the attack is where I like to be. Like I always say, I try to just do what I can to help this team out, try to be as diverse as I can." The Canadian may not be too far off with his claims either as he may not be the best performer so far this season, but none of DC United's men have stood out leaps and bounds beyond the others. Sure, Perry Kitchen and Bill Hamid have both flourished in their positions and kept their squad in matches on more than one occasion, but as Pontius and company continue to underperform – questions are going to continue to arise.
Six goals – the total number of goals that DC have tallied so far this season and it's astonishing. The talent that is present throughout Ben Olsen's squad is brilliant, but the proof seems to be in the pudding. A lack of cohesion in the squad will not bring DC any closer to a mid season surge towards a MLS playoff contention. So, Olsen's Army – let's put the poor start behind us, and hope the Black & Reds pick up three points in Chicago this Sunday.