The Black-and-Red could certainly use the win. With so few games left in the season, every one is important for a team that's currently out of playoff contention.
After the high of coming back to draw at the death and bring home the Atlantic Cup, we travel to take on one of the worst teams in the league in Chicago. If you want to make the playoffs, these are the type of games you have to win and win convincingly. We did that a few weeks ago here in DC, beating the Fire 6-2. Do we have six goals in us again on Friday? No, but I think we have four. The Black-and-Red know what they need to do and they take care of business. Two goals by Mullins, One by DeLeon and one by Marcelo helps the good guys to a 4-1 victory.
The Fire generally attack you in three ways: David Accam, big early diagonal balls over defense, and rebounds from long-range shots. United should be able to largely handle all three and bring home their second road win of the year. Look for Luciano Acosta to mark his return with a couple of assists, one to Patrick Mullins and another to Lloyd Sam. Marcelo converts a penalty late after Chicago pull one back through John Goosens. 3-1 to los Capitalinos.
D.C. United escaped from New York, and now they need to put another beat down on Chicago to keep their playoff hopes alive and in line. Chicago is the frisky bad team in the East, but to prove themselves among the playoff elect, this is a game that United must win. They'll have Lucho Acosta back, and that makes all the difference: 2-0 to D.C. United.
Since Chicago were bounced out of the Open Cup, they've lost twice in six games; once to us, when they had their guys running on fumes, and on 10 men for an hour, and another time in a closely knit affair with Toronto FC last week, when David Accam caused the Reds headaches. Accam presumably starts Friday and I think they keep their modest offensive production going, scoring two goals for the 6th time in seven games. I think D.C scores...something, I really don't know what, as this team continues to mystify me.
Can you use 2-? as a prediction? No? OK, 2-2.
In this final stretch, D.C. United will likely have to win some away games to rack up some points over the likes of New England and Orlando and ensure a playoff spot. And, if they can't win this away game, it doesn't get any easier. I put this game in the must-win column. It won't be easy. Chicago will be looking to avenge their 6-2 humiliation at RFK. The funny thing? Their aggression leads to yet another red card halfway through the match. D.C. uses its one-man advantage to put it away with a deuce from Luciano Acosta. D.C. wins, 0-2.
Chicago has quietly started to be...well, not good, but less terrible anyway. A consistent back four and some attacking persistence have made them a more complicated opponent, and this time they won't be starting 9 players that were tired from a mid-week game. The early going might be a bit rocky for United, particularly without Sean Franklin to deal with David Accam, but against the run of play they'll take a lead via Patrick Mullins. Chicago will be demoralized, and the Black-and-Red get the crucial second shortly after halftime thanks to Patrick Nyarko, who breaks his career record for goals with a close-range finish against his old club. Accam scores fairly late to set up a nervy finish, but United holds on for a badly needed 2-1 win.
It feels jinx-y to go along with most everyone else and predict a win in this one, but I also hate the thought of not getting three points here. Luckily I think Acosta being back will re-energize the team and last-minute heroics a la last week won't be necessary. 2-1 to DCU, probably a little shaky overall but who cares. Goals from Mullins and DeLeon.
Let us know your predictions in the comments, but first, your poll of the week: