Okay, except we didn't all predict that. But man, wouldn't that be sweet?
It's been over a year since the Black-and-Red went to the Bronx to play NYCFC, and that match started out ugly and with us having the lead at halftime before the Pigeons dropped three in the second half to win. This is going to be a much different affair. Hopefully the team bottles up whatever they had before the match last weekend and uses that to exploit a weakened NYC defense that is missing two players due to international duty. United will be without Steve Birnbaum for the same reason, but they still got Hamid between the pipes. Also, the X-factor will be Patrick Mullins, who will seek to dish out some cold revenge against his former team that never used him properly. He drops two and the defense does just enough for a 2-1 DCU win.
Both teams will be missing center backs to the international break—which, why are we playing through this again?—but United will be missing their first and best set piece target in Steve Birnbaum, who has taken his talents to Jacksonville for USMNT camp. Without the Californian's aerial presence, los Capitalinos are less threatening on set pieces, but an in-sync front four of Patrick Nyarko, Lloyd Sam, Luciano Acosta, and Patrick Mullins makes up for it in open play. Lloyd Sam gets the plaudits this week as he scores his first goal for the good guys and wins a penalty that Marcelo converts to keep the team's multiple goal streak going. The combination of David Villa, Thomas McNamara and New Yankee Stadium (which has been a not good place to United over the venue's short history) keep the guests from claiming all three points, however, and it ends 2-2.
Tiny field inside of a baseball stadium guarantees that this game will feel like mid-2000s MLS. But with Patrick Mullins, D.C. United finally have a forward who can play that kind of battering style, and Lloyd Sam and Patrick Nyarko can get him the ball on the ground to create some danger. This is probably too optimistic, but the new offense will click and Bill Hamid won't make the same mistakes, so give me a 2-1 victory for United.
It's great that D.C. is starting to score and all, but it'll be the first time they've really taken the roadshow of Patrick Mullins, Luciano Acosta, Patrick Nyarko and Lloyd Sam on the road together since they've started clicking, so I'm not really sure what to expect. I do expect that with Bobby Boswell and (presumably) Kofi Opare in back that some struggles against David Villa and Frank Lampard may surface, and NYCFC wins 2-1 in a close one.
It's easy to get carried away with a six goal performance and a win, but I have to keep reminding myself that it was against the Chicago Fire, who also happened to have 10 men for much of the match. Couple that with the fact that this New York team has won every home game since June 2nd, and things don't look good for DCU. I'd happily take a draw, but I think New York's only team is going to win this one 1-0.
Tempting though it is to declare DCU unstoppable after that 6-2 win, the logical person within me (the one who's like yo why do you care about Conor Doyle so much) knows that wasn't a performance we're likely to see repeated. Factor in that this is road game and, as has been mentioned, Birdbomb will be with the USMNT, and it all feels dangerously close to square one. Luckily our attack is clicking right now and I think they'll bag a couple of goals up in NYC—just won't be enough for a win. This one will end 2-2, and I'll take the draw. Mullins and Nick DeLeon tally for the visitors.
Let us know your predictions in the comments, but first, here's this week's quick poll: