The newest installment of #DCUafterdark comes your way this Saturday, when D.C. United travel to Canada to face off against the Vancouver Whitecaps. We're not too confident in D.C. United's ability to get points in the Pacific Northwest, but take to the comments and tell us why we're wrong!
So D.C. United is going across country to Vancouver to play on that pre-Women's World Cup turf, which means it is likely going to be minus their starting keeper, and their first choice forwards (Luis Silva and Fabian Espindola) and a starting midfielder (Nick DeLeon) are likely to be available, though presumably not from the jump. Vancouver leads the Lig in points and it should be repeated, do not lose to Eastern Conference teams at home. While I remain unsold that Pa Modou Kah remains ANYONE'S solution at center back, I have little confidence that D.C. will have enough time or opportunity to exploit it. Will go 2-0 Whitecaps, with the relief that a goal or two may be a near miss.
This game is going to be ugly. UG-LY. Just forget about this game. Other than that abberration in San Jose last year, DCU is not good at flying across the country and winning. Plus, and also, additionally, turf. TURF. So, let's be clear. DCU is not going to win this game. And Vancouver is as hot as anything - although, and don't smack me for this, I don't think Vancouver is as hot as the Red Bulls right now. I envy them for BWP. Sigh. Anyway, back to the question at hand. Let's not kid ourselves - this won't be a draw. The question is by HOW MUCH our beloved Black and Red lose this game. I'm going to go with a 2-0 loss for DCU. Espindola will look extremely angry and frustrated at various points. Arnaud will argue Fabi's case. Rolfe will look disappointed. Silva will have that exhausted look that he gets. Dykstra is going to be quietly beating himself up. Benny will have that look of resignation. Sorry. This just won't be fun. I'm going to watch it anyway. Because DCU. I hope I'm wrong. So wrong.
The first of 3 cross-country trips to the Pacific Northwest this season sees us head to Vancouver, where we get to play on...turf. Awesome. Awesomely awful. Vancouver is pretty hot right now, but we the beauty of welcoming back that man Fabi Espindola. Last time Fabi played on turf, it was in Costa Rica and he dominated (even though the team very much did not). Here, Fabi decides to open up his 2015 league register in yet another country, and Rolfe adds a blast to counter a Vancouver strike. 2-1 DCU and they actually close out the match and secure 3 full points.
Vancouver is a team that wants to get out and run as their first, second and third options. The Black-and-Red under Ben Olsen like to clog up space and keep the game in front of them. It seems likely that whoever wins this battle of styles will be more likely to take a positive result out of BC Place. I think that'll be United, who will earn a point, for once playing the role of the come-from-behind road team. Chris Pontius finishes a Nick DeLeon ball to equalize after Octavio Rivero does what he's been doing all season. 1-1 final.
Have to say, this one makes me nervous. After two frustrating draws at home, a cross-country trip (to turf, no less) isn't exactly what I want right now. Plus, Vancouver have started their season well, and they're coming off a 1-0 road win against RSL. I'm expecting this game to get ugly fast. However, the DCU optimist in me that wants to predict a Black-and-Red win for every game isn't quite ready to call this one a loss. I'll say United earn a point in a hard-fought 1-1 draw, with Rolfe grabbing the visiting side's goal.
Vancouver has devoured teams from the east at home over the years, and United's previous long trip for a game on turf against a really fast opponent and also without Hamid (as is likely the case this weekend) went horribly. On the other hand, Fabian Espindola's return - even if he's just a sub - should provide some kind of lift for the whole squad. Plus, Vancouver's record is not indicative of their performances. The Whitecaps may top the table, but they have taken points when they shouldn't have numerous times. I think United has a chance in this one, but ultimately I think we'll see one too many breaks fall for VWFC. 2-1 Whitecaps, Chris Pontius with United's goal.
I like to characterize myself as half optimist/half realist, and when the two collide the realist usually wins. This D.C. United team as currently comprised is good, but not good enough to beat a Vancouver team that has scored seven goals and allowed just one at home thus far this season. I'd feel better about this game in a month when Luis Silva is starting underneath Fabian Espindola with Nick DeLeon and Chris Rolfe on the wings, and a healthy Steve Birnbaum in the back, but right now? Nah. 2-0 Vancouver, with Silva and Espindola popping up in the last 20-30 minutes to give us hope and a chance.
This Vancouver team is good, they are physical, and they are fast. It makes me a little scared that they will be running at Bobby Boswell and Kofi Opare, neither of whom are known for their speed; double scared if it is Andrew Dykstra and not Bill Hamid between the sticks. I will say a 2-1 loss for United, but Fabian Espindola gets the goal and United turn toward May feeling decent.