Washington, D.C. – D.C. United had its four-match win streak snapped last week, but coach Ben Olsen was focused on the next opponent.
United lost 3-2 to Red Bull New York to allow their rivals a share of the lead in the Eastern Conference, but return home to RFK Stadium on Saturday to play the expansion Montreal Impact.
D.C. (9-5-3) and New York are level on 30 points, and Sporting Kansas City has 29 points and two games in hand on United, so it's important to pick up three points against Montreal.
"We have to lick our wounds and get back to work and make sure we're ready to go against ... Montreal," Olsen said. "Teams right now are, you know, figuring teams out and knowing what they're about and we have to get back and win our home game."
Although United lost to New York, it played well on the road.
Chris Pontius scored just 31 seconds into the match at Red Bull Arena, but the hosts turned the match around to remain unbeaten at home.
United's turnaround this season has been built on its home form, as it has six wins and two draws in its first nine matches at RFK.
D.C. acquired forward Long Tan from Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Thursday to add depth up front and signed midfielder Branko Boskovic to a new contract Friday.
Now, the focus will be firmly on Montreal (5-9-3). The Impact are just 1-7-1 on the road, but the expansion team sits ahead of the Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC in the East table.
Until Wednesday, Montreal played well for most of the season. Toronto humbled its Canadian rival, as it won 3-0 in a midweek clash at Saputo Stadium. It was just the second home loss for the Impact.
"It's frustrating. It's embarrassing.. We are a better team and we really let ourselves down," Montreal captain Davy Arnaud said.
Montreal was missing two important players, Matteo Ferrari and Nelson Rivas, but coach Jesse Marsch did not believe that was an excuse.
"Those are two big players, but Shavar (Thomas) and Hassoun (Camara) have done well for us. We have a good roster and it's not about one or two players, it's about the whole team competing," Marsch said. "We didn't do that."
The Impact did debut Marco Di Vaio, but the three-goal loss against the squad with the fewest points in the league was tough to take.
"It's hard to push and get these things right. Every time I feel we take a couple of steps, I feel we take a couple of steps back," Marsch said. "We were totally outcompeted everywhere on the field.
"That is a disappointing loss and we have to find a way to recover. We have a big game against a good team on Saturday."