- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2011

There’s no place like home, and make no mistake about it: D.C. United’s players do love playing in front of their frenzied faithful.

Yet a worrisome trend has emerged for United at RFK Stadium. There don’t seem to be many points at home, either.

United head to San Jose for a clash with the Earthquakes on Saturday night knowing that their destination will be, statistically speaking, a place they have a better chance of getting a result than if they were playing at their own stadium.

Any destination would be. United are 2-3-5 at home this season and 3-3-3 on the road. They’ve won three more points on the road even while playing one less game.

“Anybody knows we’ve left way too many points on the table, especially at home,” said rookie striker Blake Brettschneider. “If I told you there wasn’t frustration, I’d be lying to you.”

United haven’t won at RFK since they silenced the Seattle Sounders 2-1 on May 4. In league play, they’ve failed to gain maximum points in their past seven home matches.

“The last month or so, [we’ve given up goals] in pretty dramatic fashion, a couple games where if we could hold on for another five minutes we’d have three points,” said Brettschneider. “But we’ve got to find a way to fix it.”

The road is a good place to start. Though United haven’t been able to assert dominance at home, they have been able to gain confidence through their play on the road.

So far this season, United have picked up some impressive wins on their travels. They were the first team to beat Portland in its new stadium and, on July 9, they defeated Eastern Conference rival New York 1-0 at Red Bull Arena.

What’s the team doing right on the road that it isn’t doing at home?

“I think we’re tuned in to every play. We realize we’re going away; there’s a certain mentality,” coach Ben Olsen said. “We have a mindset when we play at other venues that’s very dire; we’re very tuned in thinking that maybe the next play is the important one.

“I think at home, we’ve lacked that. I always say: We haven’t played bad at home, we’ve created a lot of opportunities and chances, we’ve just missed a play or two and teams are punishing us.”

The team will look to punish San Jose, just like the Earthquakes did when they came to RFK in mid-June, won 4-2 and, according to Olsen, made it look like “men versus boys.”

“You can’t do that; you’ve got to be able to win at home and be able to play tough on the road,” said Brettschneider. “That’s what we’re working toward.”

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