Washington, D.C. – Last year, D.C. United at Seattle Sounders FC was not a particularly intriguing fixture as the Sounders trounced United, 3-0, at CenturyLink Field.
But at RFK Stadium, D.C. picked up a 2-1 win and the proceedings could be much more interesting on Saturday when the two sides take the pitch for their lone meeting in 2012.
Marc Burch spent four seasons with D.C. United before being selected by Seattle in the 2011 MLS Re-Entry Draft. After a poor showing against the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend, a match that the Sounders lost on penalty kick awarded from a Burch foul, the 27-year-old has a point to prove against team that left him unprotected in the Re-Entry Draft in September.
"Obviously any time you play against your old club you're motivated to go out there and play," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told the club's website. "Sometimes you can be over-motivated, that can work against you a little bit. I think everybody always looks forward to playing their old team and putting on a good performance."
Burch even provided some bulletin board material for his former side, claiming D.C. never should have let him go.
"They had the opportunity to keep me and they didn't," Burch said. "I don't believe that their left back is better than I am, but if that's what they think, then that's what they think. It's time to prove that we have a much better team here and I'm excited to be here."
Daniel Woolard, United's current left back, did not seem to take offense to Burch's comments.
"It is what it is," Woolard told dcunited.com "I'm just trying to go out there and win the game for our fans and get three points."
D.C. United could not have picked a better time to face the always on-form Sounders. Seattle is coming off a disappointing home loss to the Earthquakes, the polar opposite of United's last contest.
After a slow start to the season that saw D.C. take just one point from its opening three matches, things clicked for the team last week as they handed a FC Dallas a humbling 4-1 defeat at RFK Stadium.
But if there is one thing that could slow United down, it's the suspension to Brandon McDonald. The defender was handed a one-match ban after a reckless challenge in the victory over FC Dallas.
McDonald is expected to be replaced by Dejan Jakovic, and the Canadian recognized that communication will prove to be key if United wish to overcome lineup changes.
"I have a chance to come in and help the team get another win, that's the way I'm looking at it," said Jakovic. "We have to make sure we are on the same page. We've had a bunch of different lineups, so just communication and being on the same page is important."