In the last two MLS seasons, United has held the top seed going into the postseason. Now with seven games left United (10-11-2, 32 points) has a losing record and is battling for a wild card berth.
United playmaker Marcelo Gallardo is expected to make his first start at home since June 29. The Argentine midfielder has been sick this week and is struggling to shake off a sore ankle.
Midfielder Fred and defender Gonzalo Peralta are questionable for the game, but leading goal scorer Luciano Emilio is off the injury list.
Dallas (6-9-8, 26 points) is seeking to get three points to challenge United for a wild card. The club is spearheaded by Baltimore native Kenny Cooper and is one player the United defense will have to watch. Cooper, the son of former Baltimore Blast coach Kenny Cooper Sr., is a big, agile striker who has notched 13 goals in 23 games this season and is being watched closely by European teams. MLS turned down bids from Cardiff City and Norway’s Rosenborg in the range of $4 million for Cooper, who spent three years as a youth player with Manchester United.
“He’s quick and light on his feet,” said United midfielder Santino Quaranta, who played against Cooper in high school soccer games in Baltimore.
Team note - United will honor the 1998 D.C. United team that won the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup and the InterAmerican Cup at Saturday’s game.