Sitting in fourth place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings with the same number of games played as those around them, D.C. United is still in absolute control of its own destiny. Three more matches against teams out of playoff contention mean that United on its current form has a great chance of ending its four-year playoff drought. So we don't necessarily need to watch the scoreboard today. But we will anyway.
United plays tomorrow at home against Chivas USA. Today, we get to sit back and take in the rest of the league's games while trying to relax.
Here's a list of the other MLS matches this weekend that could affect United's place in the playoffs.
Saturday at 1:00 PM: Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City. The Impact are seven points out of fifth place, having played one more game than those ahead of them. A loss today would all but bury them, and that might be something that United fans would be happy to see. On the other hand, a win for SKC would put them all the more closer to clinching first place and setting up a potential playoff matchup against United, which is something we would NOT be happy to see. I'd much rather play Chicago or New York, so I'll be rooting for Montreal in this one.
Saturday at 7:30 PM: New England Revolution vs. New York Red Bulls. The former Metrostars are 0-11-4 in New England in their last 15 matches, which is good for the longest winless streak by any team at any single venue in league history. With Thierry Henry out, there's no reason to suspect that streak won't continue. A win combined with a Sporting loss would put the Red Bulls just one point out of first, and with Hans Backe on the sidelines and Bill Gaudette in goal, I'd LOVE to face New York in the playoffs. But a loss for New York combined with a D.C. win would put United in third place.
Saturday at 8:30 PM: Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew. This is an easy one. We need Columbus to lose, and lose often. With the Crew just two points behind United and the teams level on games, D.C. fans will be rooting for the Crew to fall in Chicago and fall further behind us in the playoff race.
Sunday at 4:00 PM: Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo. The Union weren't an easy out for United on Thursday night, and hopefully they won't be for Houston tomorrow. John Hackworth's squad did a fairly good job of creating chances, but put very few of them on target. If the young guns in Philadelphia bring their finishing boots to this match, they could really help D.C. put some distance ahead of the Dynamo in all-important fourth place.