April 15, 2011 MLS--Training Notes: United In Toronto (from dcunited.com)
Training notes: United in Toronto Charlie Davies prepared for potential start, while Perry Kitchen is on the mend Alex Caulfield dcunited.com Friday, April 15, 2011 - 3:59pm Charlie Davies could earn his first MLS start on Saturday in Toronto UNITED ARRIVES IN ONTARIO The Black-and-Red touched down in Toronto at roughly 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, and the team spirit is high heading into tomorrow night's nationally televised contest at BMO Field (Fox Soccer Channel, 7:00 p.m. ET). Though the club has struggled with a few niggling injuries in the early portion of 2011, United appears to be on the mend for the Toronto FC match. Aside from long-term injuries to Steve Cronin (wrist fracture), Junior Carreiro (ankle sprain), and Devon McTavish (concussion), only fullback Jed Zayner is unavailable for Saturday's clash with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Santino Quaranta is also unavailable due to his dismissal in last weekend's match with LA. Central defender Perry Kitchen is on the mend following a week-long bout with illness. Last Saturday’s match was supposed to be Kitchen’s much-anticipated return to D.C. United following two weeks away on international duty with the United States Under 20 team. Unfortunately for Kitchen and United, the 18-year-old centerback returned from Guatemala with a stomach virus and was forced to miss the Galaxy match. Kitchen has been in and out of training this week with the illness, and he hopes to make his return to the lineup on Saturday in Toronto. Said the rookie, "I should be ready to go if called upon. I am feeling stronger than I have all week." Fellow rookie Ethan White filled in for Kitchen in central defense last weekend against LA. For two members of the Black-and-Red, this weekend's trip over the border is a homecoming of sorts. Dejan Jakovic returns to his hometown, while Pat Onstad will see family in Toronto. Though Onstad is a native of Vancouver, his sister is a Toronto resident and the two of them plan on meeting up at some point during the club's stay in Ontario. FAVORABLE ROAD RECORD Much like D.C. United at RFK Stadium, Toronto FC is known for having strong home support at BMO Field. Nevertheless, despite Toronto's vociferous home backing, United holds a winning record at BMO Field, with an all-time mark of 3-2-0. In fact, the Black-and-Red hold a favorable all-time advantage against the Reds, with United posting a 6-3-1 record against TFC. DC VS NY - APRIL 21, 8:00 PM DAVIES’ STRONG START With three MLS matches under his belt, United forward Charlie Davies is currently leading the League in scoring with four goals. Despite playing in his first MLS season, Davies has integrated himself quickly into Ben Olsen’s side. In all three of his MLS matches Davies has appeared as a substitute. Davies earned a penalty kick in the dying stages of the April 9 match against LA, and he converted the subsequent spot kick to give United a share of the points against a Western Conference rival. The U.S. National Team forward has registered 120 minutes coming off the bench for the Black-and-Red, and Saturday’s match could be his first start following his remarkable recovery from a life-threatening car accident in late 2009. Said Davies of the possibility of earning his first MLS start in Toronto, "It would mean a lot. It's the first step in a long road back to being the player I want to be." He continues, "Of course in the beginning it's just about easing into it - I hadn't played in a year and a half. Your building your fitness and building your game mentality. Now I feel like I'm ready to go and play those games 90 minutes, and to keep progressing as a forward." Though this is his first MLS trip to Toronto, Davies is no stranger to TFC - he scored a goal against the Reds on March 12 in a 2-2 draw at Blackbaud Stadium in the Carolina Challenge Cup. THE LAST TIME D.C. United and Toronto FC last met in League play on October 23, 2010 – the final match of the 2010 campaign. Dwayne De Rosario netted a brace for Toronto FC, with Maicon Santos adding another strike to seal a 3-2 win for the Reds at RFK Stadium. Santino Quaranta scored early for the Black-and-Red, but the night will always be remembered as Jaime Moreno’s last for D.C. United in a storied 14-year career with the club. Moreno scored from the penalty spot in the 39th minute, and despite the narrow loss, the Bolivian’s lap of honor around RFK following the match proved to be one of the most memorable moments in club history. United's last visit to Toronto's home ground resulted in a narrow 1-0 victory for the visitors, with Julius James heading home an 81st minute strike to give Ben Olsen's men the victory on September 11, 2010. WHERE THEY STAND With five matches played in the 2011 MLS regular season, Toronto FC is currently second in the Eastern Conference table on six points. The Reds are coming off of consecutive draws with LA Galaxy on April 13, and San Jose Earthquakes on April 9. United is ninth in the East on four points, following last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against the Galaxy. The club has a game in hand over Toronto, having played four League matches thus far. However, a win in Toronto this weekend could propel United into the top half of the table and as high as second place. Philadelphia is leading the Eastern Conference with nine points.
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