D.C. United are halfway through a July that's all away games, all the time. It started out all right with a draw against Real Salt Lake—only to go way downhill against the Philadelphia Union.
So with another road trip underway, this time to face the Columbus Crew, can the Black-and-Red rebound with a result, or are they doomed to flounder once more?
United needs to rebound after such an abysmal performance last weekend in Philly. Luckily, Columbus is one of the worst teams in the league this year. They need to steal some points on the road and they need to perform with the urgency that was missing last weekend. I think that the team does get back on track. Nick DeLeon finally notches one and Bill Hamid keeps the clean sheet as it's not a pretty affair, but the Black-and-Red leave Columbus 1-0 winners.
My crystal ball this season is as transparent as a lead bowling ball. And my faith in D.C. United right now is as strong as generic brand toilet paper is for sopping up spilled beer. I predict Columbus gives its home crowd something to cheer, as D.C. falls hard on the road again, 0-2. And the rest of the season will be spent chasing that red line with team enthusiasm levels set at 48%, which is still much higher than the ownership's current non-stadium-related investment levels in the team itself (somewhere around 17%).
Los Capitalinos haven't strung two wins or two losses together all season (except for Lloyd Sam—with apologies to Brendanukkah), and while past performance isn't a predictor of future results, I'll go with it. United's 3-0 loss to Dallas, which had been their worst performance on the year, was followed by a 1-1 draw in San Jose and a 4-0 win over Vancouver. They 2-0 loss to NYCFC with a 2-0 win over the Metros. The Crew are worse than either of those opponents right now, so I'll go with the Black-and-Red getting their second road win of the year. Some combination of Acosta, Espindola and Saborio combine to score on either side of halftime, and Bill Hamid does what he does. 2-0 to the visitors.
You might not have heard, but the Crew are in last place in all of MLS as I write this. This is a bad soccer team coming off of a midweek home draw to a TFC team that didn't have Sebastian Giovinco. Even the rich goalscoring form of Ola Kamara (8 goals in 9 appearances since taking over as the Crew's starting #9, including 4 in the last 4 games) has not prevented Columbus from going into freefall. They've won once in their last 11 games.
However, United is coming off of their worst game of the season, a hapless 3-0 loss to Philly that was as fun as dental surgery, and they have just one road win on the year. So let's not get overconfident here. I see the Black-and-Red continuing their season-long streak of avoiding a losing (or winning) streak, but I can't sit here and say that I think they'll win. Alvaro Saborio heads in a goal fairly early, and United high-presses the Crew into trouble during a strong first half. However, the game gets away from them a bit, and a tiring Columbus side snatches a goal through Kamara before they run out of gas in the middle of the second half. From there, the game kind of peters out, ending in a 1-1 draw.
I feel similar to Jason at this point. Sure, Columbus rolled most of their first teamers in their game with TFC, but D.C.simply cannot be trusted to take a road win off anyone this point. Their road win total continues to decrease (6 in 2014, 4 in 2015, 1 this year with half of their road dates completed). I'm going with a 1-1 draw, with Kamara on Kamara crime on the scoresheet.
As has been noted, DCU aren't about streaks this season, whether that's winning or losing. So I'm willing to believe that they'll continue with that up-and-down form—but not so willing that I'll predict a win in this one. Rather, I'll go with a draw: 1-1 helps the Black-and-Red eek out one road point, which, hey, is better than none. Saborio with the goal for the visitors.
What's your prediction? Let us know in the comments!