Marc Burch would like to forget the brief moment of Saturday night’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes that saw him whistled for an off-the-ball foul on Steven Lenhart that resulted in the game-deciding penalty.
“It’s 100 percent my fault,” Burch said after the game, shaking his head. “I should be bigger than that and better than that.”
This Saturday, he’ll get that opportunity and he will get it in a familiar place as the Sounders meet DC United in Burch’s return to the stadium he called home for the past five seasons before coming to the Sounders in the Re-Entry Draft last December.
“Obviously any time you play against your old club you’re motivated to go out there and play,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Sometimes you can be over-motivated, that can work against you a little bit. I think everybody always looks forward to playing their old team and putting on a good performance.”
Burch saw success with DC United, making the full-time move to left back and starting in 76 of his 93 appearances. But after five seasons, he was ready to part ways with the club, particularly after they asked to renegotiate his contract.
“They had the opportunity to keep me and they didn’t. I don’t believe that their left back is better than I am, but if that’s what they think, then that’s what they think,” Burch said. “It’s time to prove that we have a much better team here and I’m excited to be here.”
At DC United, he will see a different team than even the one he played with a year ago. Burch is among 11 players who finished the 2011 season on DC’s roster who are no longer with the club. It’s part of a re-tooling process under head coach Ben Olsen, who took over midway through the 2010 season and is piecing together a team to fit his rugged style.
Olsen played with DC from 1998-2009, but is making an effort to cut ties with players who he teamed with in his long MLS career.
“Benny was an awesome player and an awesome guy. He’s put in a situation where he needs to rebuild a team and I think he’s on the right path,” Burch said. “It’s good for him to start over and I think he’s doing the right thing.”
The Sounders coaching staff will turn to Burch this week as they prepare to face DC United, utilizing his knowledge of the players Olsen has kept from the 2011 team. And while he is familiar with the system Olsen uses, he is also highly familiar with the stadium atmosphere at RFK Stadium.
However, he doesn’t see the home crowd in DC nearly the same way that he did in previous years.
“RFK Stadium used to be one of the best places in the league to play at,” he smiled. “Now it’s Seattle, for sure.”
Kickoff is at 4:30 pm Pacific Time. The match is televised live on KONG 6/16 with the radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.