- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 10, 2008

After playing 10 consecutive home games in various competitions, D.C. United plays its first road game in two months Sunday at Giants Stadium.

“I’m going to have to find my travel bag in the closet. It’s been collecting dust,” United defender Bryan Namoff said. “We’ve been at home a long time and comforted by that fact, but we’re getting ready to move on and take some plane rides.”

United is coming off an unprecedented homestand, which included five MLS games (4-1), three SuperLiga games (0-3) and two in the U.S. Open Cup (2-0).

“We never took advantage of our homestand,” defender Devon McTavish said.

United (8-8-1, 25 points), which has struggled on the road (1-5-1), will play three straight away from home - at the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, at the Chicago Fire on Aug. 16 and at the first-place New England Revolution on Aug. 20.

Namoff said a lack of chemistry after many offseason roster moves caused the club’s early troubles on the road, but things should be different now.

“Halfway through the season, we know what to expect from each other, and we need to prove that on the road,” he said.

United won its last road game 2-1 over the Fire on June 7.

“I don’t think we look back that far,” coach Tom Soehn said. “Instead we look back at our last game and say that’s what we want to continue to do.”

United downed the Kansas City Wizards 2-0 at RFK Stadium last week, earning its first shutout of the season to end a four-game losing streak in all competitions at RFK.

“Right now we come off a win in which we did the things needed. Whether it’s home or away, the mentality can’t change,” Soehn said.

United has scored just five goals on the road. Entering the weekend schedule, only Toronto FC had fewer points on the road (1-7-0, three points) than United’s four.

Real Salt Lake, which has scored just four goals away from home and has the same amount of road points as United, leads the Western Conference (7-6-6, 27 points) because it is unbeaten at home.

The Red Bulls (5-6-7, 22 points), who are missing top players Claudio Reyna (retirement) and Jozy Altidore (trade), are also coming off a 6-2 loss to Barcelona in a friendly.

Some of United’s key players are returning from injuries and may be available for the game. Marcelo Gallardo (hernia) Gonzalo Peralta (hernia) and Santino Quaranta (hamstring) all practiced Friday.