D.C. United travels to Chester today to take on the Philadelphia Union in the US Open Cup. A win, in which the staff is very confident, would take United into the quarterfinals. Let us know what you think will happen in the comments!
Philadelphia has been playing very erratic lately...they beat Seattle 4 days after getting blown all the way out against LA. Philly made it to the USOC final last year so I'm thinking they want to get back. I expect their A lineup on Tuesday. Meanwhile, United is basically playing games every 14 nanoseconds, it seems, so I would expect a similar lineup to the one that appeared in Pittsburgh. It will be a tough game back and forth, and in the end I think it goes to penalties so prepare yourselves. Andrew Dykstra stops 2 shots cold and United moves on 1(4)-1(1).
Hey, I thought Toronto would beat D.C. with a weaker team and overall, I think that D.C. did well against the high-spending Reds, and still should have enough in the tank to play Philly on Tuesday with a fairly loaded lineup against a Union squad that, while having a bye this Saturday, may stack their group for one last push. I think D.C. wins 2-1 in 120 minutes on a Espindola goal and then we all have to ramp our expectations way down ahead of Friday in Seattle.
I'll go the opposite way from Ryan this week - on the lineup front, anyway. With a 15 day rest following the upcoming weekend trip to Seattle, I think Ben Olsen will run out his first choice XI at CenturyLink Field, leaving something closer to the team we saw in Pittsburgh to take on the Union. Luckily, even though Jim Curtin will be running out his best lineup, it's largely the same lineup he's used to scale Philly's own mountain of fixture congestion, including an Open Cup win after 120 minutes and penalty kicks, a 5-1 pasting in LA, a surprise home win over the Sounders, and last weekend's 2-2 draw against L'Impact - all in the last two weeks. Basically, without the luxury of squad rotation, Philly's got to be running on fumes at this point, and United's deep bench should be able to hold their own. Give me another 120-minute victory for the Black-and-Red, 2-0, with Miguel Aguilar and Facundo Coria both scoring in extra time.
United beats the Union. No need for no stinkin extra time. This will be over, mercifully for Philadelphia, after 90 minutes. United scores a goal in each half. Coria and Halsti are the bringers of it. DC 2, PHI 0.
Which team is better? Which team is deeper? I think the answer to both of these questions is D.C. United. That is enough to win in Chester, with a set piece goal by either Kofi Opare or Steve Birnbaum, as at least one of them is going to play.
I expect United to rotate heavily (probably too heavily for my tastes), but that will mean fresher legs than the Union will have. Philly has little depth, particularly in defensive positions, and that will help.
However, this season has one constant: More soccer, always more. Luis Silva opens the scoring, but the Doopers throw everything they have at this one and equalize via CJ Sapong. DC is the better team in extra time, but this goes to PKs. The Union miss twice because they're the Union, and DCU advances to more soccer via penalties.
Normally going to Chester to take on the Union with a lineup of backups would scare me, but Philly has had no choice but to run their starters into the ground, and United's backups beat the Chicago Fire just last week. Give me a 1-0 victory for D.C. United, with Conor Doyle banging in another goal from the wing.