Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Coming off a rousing victory on Tuesday to claim the U.S. Open Cup trophy, D.C. United resumes its league campaign against the Chicago Fire on Friday at RFK Stadium.
D.C. United earned an impressive 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium to capture the club's 13th major trophy, but is still struggling in league play, coming off a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Toronto FC last weekend.
United opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Jared Jeffrey beat TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik with an exceptional strike from 25 yards out, but Toronto evened the proceedings 11 minutes later when Darel Russell chested an errant ball inside the United area and turned and volleyed past goalkeeper Joe Willis in spectacular fashion.
The hosts took the lead in the 67th minute when right back Mark Bloom delivered a cross that striker Bright Dike finished with authority via a thundering volley. TFC then added an insurance tally through a Conor Shanosky own goal and Alvaro Rey finished the rout with a goal in the 87th minute.
"None of these guys are fit, most of them aren't 90 minutes fit because they haven't had a 90 in a long time," United head coach Ben Olsen said of his youthful starting 11. "Again, when you add it all up that is what can happen toward the end of the game."
Chicago enters the match in desperate need of three points to keep their playoff hopes alive after settling for a 2-2 draw with the Montreal Impact at Toyota Park last week.
Montreal opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Marco Di Vaio found the back of the net, but the Fire battled back to equalize in the 57th through a Mike Magee goal.
Chicago took the lead in the 73rd minute through another Mike Magee goal, but the Chicago native missed a penalty kick a few minutes later which swung the momentum back to Montreal and Maxim Tissot bagged the equalizer three minutes from time.
"It's been difficult because we've been dropping points. We could've been in a different situation," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "It's crucial because it is towards the end. Every point that we drop we can't get back. It is an opportunity to be in the final spot. The energy was there, we deserve to win but it doesn't always work out."
In 45 all-time meetings between the sides, both clubs have claimed 17 wins with 11 ties also in the mix.