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D.C. United-New York City FC Preview
D.C. United won just once on the road in 2018 and has never picked up a victory in the Bronx, where New York City FC lost only one time during the regular season last year.
It remains to be seen if those trends will continue Sunday at Yankee Stadium, especially after D.C. began the 2019 campaign by shutting out the defending MLS Cup champions while NYCFC wasted an opportunity to pick up three points against the Eastern Conference's worst team from a season ago.
United's 2-0 win over visiting Atlanta last Sunday improved the club to 8-0-3 in its last 11 regular-season matches. However, only two of those games have taken place on the road as D.C. played 12 of its first 14 contests in 2018 away from home while it waited to open Audi Field on July 14.
United then played just five road games the rest of the way and finished 1-9-7 outside the nation's capital.
D.C. got off to a good start last weekend at Audi Field as Luciano Acosta assisted on Paul Arriola's goal in first-half stoppage time before adding a goal of his own in the 58th minute. Acosta ranked second in MLS with 17 assists last season and tied for second on D.C. with 10 goals.
"I was calm," Acosta told United's official website. "Started off calm and it's an important game against the former champions, current champions. We had to prepare responsibly and be responsible on the field from the beginning. It was our first big test and I was happy to score."
United's next test comes in the Bronx, where it has been outscored 11-4 in going 0-3-1. NYCFC went 12-1-4 at home in the 2018 regular season before beating visiting Philadelphia in the knockout round and losing the first leg of the East semifinals against Atlanta at Yankee Stadium.
New York looked like it was on its way to a season-opening win at Orlando City SC last Saturday when it took a 2-0 lead into halftime. However, Orlando - which had a conference-low 28 points and tied for the fewest goals in the East with 43 last year - scored in the 59th and 75th minutes to earn a 2-2 draw.
"Obviously a little disappointing for us ... but it's always tough to get points on the road and I think this is probably a good starting point for us," midfielder James Sands said. "But definitely a lot of ways we can get better throughout the next couple of games."
Updated March 8, 2019