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Major League Soccer
Feb 26, 2023 at 12.30am UK
Audi Field

DC United
3 - 2

Klich (13'), Benteke (90'), Ku-Dipietro (90+8')
Canouse (56'), Benteke (60')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Bernardeschi (66' pen.), Kaye (83')
Bernardeschi (79'), Laryea (85')

Preview: DC United vs. Toronto - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: DC United vs. Toronto - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between DC United and Toronto, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

A new season begins in Major League Soccer this weekend, as DC United host Toronto at Audi Field on Saturday with both sides looking to turn the corner following some dismal 2022 campaigns.

These were the two worst teams in the league last year, with DC collecting 27 points in the regular season, seven fewer than the Reds.

Match preview

After winning their opening two games of 2022, things appeared to be looking up for the Black and Red, but that was about as good as it got, as DC could only manage five more victories the rest of the way.

It would be an understatement to say that Wayne Rooney has a massive job on his hands to try to turn around a franchise that captured three of the first four MLS Cups but have missed the playoffs on three successive occasions.

Last year, DC collected 20 fewer points than in 2021, winning only one of their seven home fixtures last year under the Englishman who was named to the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2022.

Since his arrival in the US capital last July, Rooney has made it a point to bring in some established strikers with Premier League experience to try to fix their issues in the attacking third, as the Black and Red scored the fewest goals in MLS a year ago (36).

Scoring goals, however, was not the only thing they struggled with in 2022, as defensively they gave up too many opportunities in front of goal, conceding 71 times, the most in MLS.

The Black and Red won a mere four matches at home last year, the fewest among MLS clubs, conceding multiple strikes in 11 games at Audi Field.

The Bob Bradley era in Toronto was not what fans had hoped for, as the Reds finished second from the bottom in the Eastern Conference for a second successive season.

It is no secret where the main problem lies with TFC, as they have been extremely shaky along the backline, conceding 66 goals in each of their previous two campaigns.

Therefore, it was no surprise to see them make moves to address those deficiencies, adding two experienced centre-backs along with a veteran goalkeeper who has been among the best in the league over the past few seasons.

Heading into the fall of 2022, the Reds looked to be a playoff contender, but their road woes quickly ended those hopes as they only won two matches away from home last year, tied with Atlanta United for the fewest in the Eastern Conference.

Bringing in a pair of Designated Players from Italy helped them become one of the league's most dangerous attacking sides for a while last season, and that quality could make them a handful for opposing defences this year.

While they have made it a point to improve in various areas of the field, there are questions about the depth of this team outside of its starters, so time will tell if that becomes an issue.

DC United friendlies form:
  • L
  • W
  • L

Toronto friendlies form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

The biggest off-season acquisition for DC was Mateusz Klich, with the 32-year-old ex-Leeds United midfielder expected to compliment former Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke in the attack, while Tyler Miller is likely to take the reins in goal following the departure of Bill Hamid.

Ruan joined them from Orlando City and should take up the right-back spot, while one of their top contributors from 2022, Ola Kamara, remains a free agent.

Taxiarchis Fountas led DC with 12 goals last season, three more than Kamara, while a pair of former players, Edison Flores and Michael Estrada, found the mark in their previous home fixture against the Reds, which finished in a 2-2 tie.

TFC signed 2021 MLS Cup MVP Sean Johnson, who finished second in the league for clean sheets last year (14), while the new centre-back pairing this season is expected to be Matt Hedges, the all-time appearances leader at Dallas (310) and Norwegian international Sigurd Rosted.

Earlier this week, Toronto traded their joint-leading goalscorer from 2022, Jesus Jimenez, to Dallas in exchange for Brandon Servania, while they also let starting goalkeeper Alex Bono sign with DC United, Domenico Criscito returned to Genoa in the Italian second tier and Chris Mavinga joined the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne scored a combined 14 goals despite playing only about half of last season, while Canadian international Jonathan Osorio was tied for the team lead in goals with nine.

DC United possible starting lineup:
Miller; Ruan, Birnbaum, Williams, Jeahze; Palsson; Morrison, Klich; Fountas, Rodriguez, Benteke

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Laryea, Rosted, Hedges, Petretta; Bradley; Kaye, Osorio; Bernardeschi, Diomande, Insigne

We say: DC United 1-2 Toronto

If they can stay healthy, the experienced newcomers in Toronto should provide some stability to their backline, and although DC might be a little sharper in the attacking third, we believe they might struggle to contain the experienced Reds strikers who transitioned seamlessly to MLS.

How to watch

You can watch DC United vs. Toronto and every MLS match this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to subscribe.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
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Read more about Wayne Rooney Bob Bradley Mateusz Klich Christian Benteke Tyler Miller Ruan Ola Kamara Taxiarchis Fountas Edison Flores Michael Estrada Sean Johnson Matt Hedges Sigurd Rosted Jesus Jimenez Brandon Servania Alex Bono Domenico Criscito Chris Mavinga Federico Bernardeschi Lorenzo Insigne Jonathan Osorio Bill Hamid Football
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Premier League Table

Eastern Conference

1Inter MiamiInter Miami25165456391753
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati25153744331148
3Columbus Crew23127447222543
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls251011442311141
5New York City FCNY City2511593630638
6Charlotte FCCharlotte FC2510783027337
7Orlando City259793938134
9Atlanta UnitedAtlanta2577113536-128
10Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia2569104542327
11CF MontrealMontreal2569103449-1527
12Nashville SCNashville2568112639-1326
13DC United2568113550-1526
14Chicago Fire2567123042-1225
15New England RevolutionNew England2372142347-2423

Western Conference

1Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy26147550361449
2Los Angeles FCLos Angeles24145548301847
3Real Salt LakeSalt Lake25128551341744
4Colorado RapidsColorado2612595043741
5Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver2411584335838
6Houston DynamoHouston2410773530537
7Seattle SoundersSeattle2510783429537
8Portland TimbersPortland2510695042836
9Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd2596104041-133
10Austin FCAustin2587102837-931
12Sporting Kansas CityKansas2666144152-1124
13St Louis City25411103246-1423
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes2542193161-3014
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