D.C. United will try to turn promising performances into more consistent results, beginning Saturday night when they host the New England Revolution in Washington.
After finishing last in the Eastern Conference in 2022, D.C. United (1-2-1, 4 points) have been competitive in every game this season.
Most recently, the Black Red absorbed a 3-2 defeat on the road last Saturday at New York City FC. The week before that, they were clearly the dominant side but settled for a 1-1 draw against a short-handed Orlando City.
"We don't feel like a team who've won one game," D.C. assistant coach Pete Shuttleworth said. "We feel like a team who should have more wins on the board, and that's obviously something that we're addressing, and we keep building on and keep giving the lads confidence to go and be themselves and play."
D.C. is one of a few MLS teams relatively unaffected by international call-ups this weekend. But an illness has gone through the team and kept head coach Wayne Rooney from giving his weekly pre-match media remarks.
Christian Benteke scored his team-leading second goal at NYCFC, and Mateusz Klich assisted both goals as he continues his strong showing in his first MLS season after a transfer from Leeds United.
New England has dominated D.C. perhaps as much as any single opponent in recent years, winning seven of the last eight going back to the 2020 regular season. The only blemish was a 3-2 home win for D.C. last year in the first game after the dismissal of former D.C. coach Hernan Losada.
But the Revs have some personnel questions. Carles Gil, the 2021 MLS MVP, is not listed on the team's injury report, but he missed last week's 1-0 home win over Nashville SC with a leg issue. Winger Dylan Borrero and defender Christian Makoun are among those on international duty.
New England head coach Bruce Arena knows D.C. United will be more of a challenge than in recent seasons.
"Certainly their new additions have helped them," Arena said. "Benteke is an excellent player. (Klich) is an excellent midfielder. They've got some experienced center backs in (Steve) Birnbaum and (Derrick) Williams. So they have a good solid team and they're always difficult at home."
--Field Level Media