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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting D.C. United

The Black and Red are unbeaten in their last four matches.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The schedule for FC Dallas heats up as they begin hitting the road more in the coming weeks. Up first is a trip to our nation's capital with a game against D.C. United.

United are 2-2-2 on the season with eight points to show for, which is good enough at the moment for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Last season, United were the bottom team in the league as injuries, poor form and a host of other issues plagued the team into one of the worst finishes in league history. Ben Olsen has his side turned around this season however with a mix of veteran players and some talent up front that can score goals when they are hot.

Injury Report

Currently only two names are on the United injury watch for this weekend. Chris Pontius is out for four to six months at the moment as he had surgery on his hamstring this week. Homegrown player Michael Seaton is the other name listed as out for this weekend's game with an ankle injury.

Chris Korb and Luis Silva are both question marks as they have been dealing with injuries of their own in recent weeks.

Projected Lineup

Olsen uses a 4-4-2 formation, sometimes that goes into a diamond four in the midfield.

Goalkeeper: Andrew Dykstra; RB: Sean Franklin; CB: Bobby Boswell, Jeff Parke; LB: Christian; RM: Nick DeLeon; CM: Davy Arnaud, Perry Kitchen; LM: Chris Rolfe; FW: Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson.

Key Matchup

Perry Kitchen vs Mauro Diaz - United are a team that does give up a good share of fouls and Kitchen is one of the main reasons for that. In 2014, Kitchen has committed 13 fouls, good enough for second on United's team. Diaz has shown this season to be a tricky player for opposing teams to handle and will almost certainly draw a few fouls in this one from Kitchen.

Keys to Three Points

For me this one is all about getting set pieces once again and making the most of them. United are a team that sit in the middle of the pack in terms of fouls committed per game. As we've pointed out on here, this should favor FCD this weekend.

United have a lot more grit to them this season with the likes of Boswell, Espindola, Parke and Arnaud in the lineup. Defensively they are proving to be a lot better this season as they have only given up six goals this season, averaging out to being one per match. That isn't a bad turn around from a season ago when they were extremely leaky.

FCD will need to be smart in possession and make the most of their chances once again. United are a team that will sit back and take some punches while looking to counter with Johnson and Espindola. Thankfully for Dallas, they got a good dose of a team that sits back and waits to counter in their win last weekend over Toronto.

Wing play will also be important for Dallas in this one as well. United haven't played a team just yet like Dallas when it comes to speed on the outside. In their two losses to start the season against Columbus and Toronto, it was pressure from the outside in both games that caused some issues for the Black-and-Red.

How do you think this weekend's game will go? Sound off about it in the comments below.