CHICAGO, IL – D.C. United have followed each of their last three losses with a shutout victory.
Coach Ben Olsen hopes that trend continues Saturday night as his club makes its only visit to Columbus this season.
United try to avoid a third straight road loss when the Crew look to extend their home point streak in this matchup to five.
Since opening the season with back-to-back losses to Sporting Kansas City and Los Angeles, D.C. is 3-0-1 when coming off a loss. United (10-6-3) have outscored their last three opponents 7-0 when trying to prevent a second straight defeat.
"I expect a response just like we have (had) after some tough losses," Olsen told United's official website following Sunday's 4-0 defeat in Houston. "We have a road game in Columbus - hopefully we can fix some things there."
Losers of two of three since a season-best four-game winning streak, United will start second-year goalkeeper Joe Willis with Bill Hamid serving a red-card suspension for tripping Dynamo forward Macoumba Kandji in the box.
In his first appearance since starting May 2, Willis allowed all four goals as Hamid's replacement.
"I think he was a little disappointed when he lost his (starting) spot," assistant coach Pat Onstad said. "But he didn't let it affect the way he trained. He's trained very hard to try to prove that he belongs on the field. He's the type of kid that his emotions never get the best of him, he'll be ready to go against Columbus."
D.C. defender Chris Korb should also be ready for extended playing time after the club learned this week that Robbie Russell could be sidelined several weeks with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
The Crew (6-7-4), who have dropped three of four since a 3-0-3 run, are dealing with their own personnel issues.
Columbus will be without midfielder-defender Bernardo Anor for the rest of the season after he suffered a torn left ACL in last Saturday's 2-0 home loss to Kansas City. Coach Robert Warzycha is expected to replace Anor with Nemanja Vukovic.
"I think Vukovic can do the job," Warzycha told the Crew's official website. "Just because he was on the bench the last game it doesn't mean he's not a good player."
Columbus, which has scored an Eastern Conference-low 17 goals, will also be without forward Emilio Renteria, who is serving a one-game suspension for a headbutt against Kansas City's Paulo Nagamura.
Renteria's absence could open up more opportunities for striker Jairo Arrieta, who made his MLS debut against Sporting.
Columbus' Andy Gruenebaum, third in the league with 62 saves, will face United for the first time since 2007.
Reigning MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario, the league leader with 10 assists, set up Daniel Woolard's goal in United's last game at Columbus, a 2-1 loss Oct. 10.
The Crew are 3-0-1 in their last four at home versus D.C.