Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - D.C. United will attempt to extend its unbeaten streak in league play to five matches on Saturday when the club travels to BC Place to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
United has played well since the outset of the season and finds itself in a three-way tie atop the Eastern Conference with 11 points and just one loss through six matches.
Last time out, United claimed a point on home soil in a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo.
The visitors carved out the first quality chance of the game just six minutes in when Giles Barnes let a shot go from the top of the penalty area, forcing United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra to make a diving stop.
United opened the scoring in the 36th minute when Chris Rolfe lined up a free kick from about 20 yards out and blasted it into the top corner, just out of the reach of the outstretched arm of Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
The Dynamo grabbed their equalizer with 25 minutes to play when Will Bruin blasted a shot on target that was stopped by Dykstra, but he spilled the rebound and Ricardo Clark was there to fire home his second goal in as many weeks.
"Yeah, certainly disappointed with not getting all three (points)," said United head coach Ben Olsen. "The other side of that, I'm happy to get one. They had their chances and we had ours. It just seems like we're not taking our chances to kill off teams. If you let teams hang around in this league, or any league, teams will find ways to get results."
Despite missing starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid to injury last week, UNited could get some positive news personnel front as striker Fabian Espindola is eligible to return after serving a six-match suspension.
Vancouver, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake and returns home looking for three points to stay on top of the West standings.
The match was even until the 76th minute when RSL's Sebastian Saucedo was given his marching orders for a rash challenge on Mauro Rosales.
Vancouver wasted little time in capitalizing on the extra man as Russell Teibert's superb cross from the left flank was met by Darren Mattocks, who sent a towering header just inside Nick Rimando's left post with just 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
Mattocks's winner was just the latest evidence that the 24-year-old Jamaica international is enjoying a bounce-back season after struggling a bit last year.
"We do things the right way [in Vancouver], just like the guys in Europe," Mattocks feels. "You definitely take things on board from everywhere that you go to play, so hopefully you can take it back to your team. I think I've done that and that has helped me this season.
"As a player, we always have meetings in the locker room. A day passed that you don't work is a day missing. So every single day you just got to take more and more to help you get better."