April 28, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; DC United forward Maicon Santos (29) celebrates with team mates after a goal against Houston Dynamo during the second half at RFK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE
D.C. United is sitting in second place in the MLS Eastern Conference, and is fresh off a three-game home stand that saw the team collect seven total points, including two straight wins against two projected playoff teams. If we'd asked how many points United should expect to collect from that home stand, seven probably would have been the maximum. Against a defense as solid as that of the Houston Dynamo, and against the attacking talent of the New York Red Bulls, we probably could have been satisfied with only five or six points from those three games. Seven is fantastic.
Now as the team flies out west in preparation for three straight road goals, where should our expectations be?
United arrived in California this morning to get ready for tomorrow night's match against the San Jose Earthquakes, and will fly straight to Saturday's match against Toronto FC from there. A trip home to relax will be very-short lived because United will face the difficult task of helping the Dynamo open up its new stadium in Houston that very weekend.
So how many points should we look for United to gain against these three opponents? Playing the Western Conference leading Earthquakes on short rest will be difficult, but don't expect Ben Olsen to concede and play his reserves. The winless TFC may look like an easier matchup, but desperation will cause the Reds to push hard for goals. Attempting to ruin Houston's party isn't an enviable task either.
Keep in mind also that United will likely be without Emiliano Dudar for this stretch (but hopefully no longer!). Maintaining this winning streak will surely be a challenge.
And so despite the team's potential for greatness and current form the past two weeks, four points from this set of matches wouldn't be a disastrous result. Five would be fulfilling. Six would be divine.