Many observers aren't giving D.C. United a chance to win on Wednesday night. But this team has been written off before...
How many times this season have we seen D.C. United play better in the second half of a match than the first? How many times has Ben Olsen changed the formation or made a key substitution in the second half that gave United the result it desired?
The second half of United's MLS Eastern Conference playoff series against the New York Red Bulls is tomorrow night. "We'll adjust. It's what we've been doing all year," Olsen said. He'll have to make at least one adjustment on Wednesday night given the red card suspension handed to Andy Najar in Saturday's 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium. It's quite likely that Najar's replacement won't be the only change made by Olsen though. After all, it's what he's been doing all year.
If we were to win the playoff series easily, it just wouldn't be D.C. United. "Like this club knows from the recent past, we like to go the hard route, and it's too easy to go the easy route" Dwayne De Rosario said in the locker room on Saturday. "We make it interesting for the fans, so hopefully we can channel this energy and prepare for Wednesday."
Most observers considered United to be the better side in the first leg of the series, despite the final score remaining tied. And yet many don't seem to be giving United much of a chance to win the second leg.
On my way out of RFK Stadium late Saturday night, I was hearing statements like "That was probably Najar's last game this season" and "I was at least hoping they'd make the next round." And that was from other local members of the media. People aren't even giving D.C. a chance.
We wrote off United's chances once already this year. It was when the league MVP went down with an injury. This team hasn't lost a game since, and they don't plan on that changing tomorrow night.