Look, it's been a busy week. Insert your own intro here, because we're just gonna get straight to the predictions. D.C. United are coming for you, Toronto!
Third game in seven days against the top team in the Eastern Conference. Giovinco will probably be back, and Ben Olsen will have to rotate his lineup. I think that a draw would be a perfectly acceptable result in this game. Give me a 1-1 draw with a Giovinco free kick for Toronto, but Lamar Neagle getting one back late to save a point for United and to keep their unbeaten streak going.
This game is important but with it being the 3rd game in a week, we will certainly be declaring some tired legs when we cross the border to Canada this weekend. Toronto will have Giovinco back along with Bradley and Altidore clicking. I expect to see a lineup that is hopefully going for the win but with some key substitutes. The way I see it, we need six points in the final three games to be assured of playing soccer in November and I think this bunch, who has scored more than any other team the past couple months, will do enough to get one here. 2-2 draw, with DeLeon and Kemp offsetting goals by Giovinco and Altidore.
I don't expect this to be an enjoyable game to watch, and that's okay by me. I think Ben Olsen decides that discretion is the better part of valor and heavily rotates a side that left it all on the field against Columbus on Wednesday. With some key pieces out, United find a goal against the run of play through Kennedy Igboananike, but Giovinco does Giovinco things—as he always seems to do against the Black-and-Red—and the good guys fall 2-1.
Guess what? We win in Toronto. We have won in Toronto. We will win in Toronto. Toronto can be happy hunting grounds for a road win. And I think DC has caught something of a mojo. While Ben Olsen will mix up the line-up a bit, it won't matter to the mojo. So I'm predicting another win and an actual league-wide story beyond the DC market of, hey, what's going on all of a sudden with DC United and its sudden winning streak? Giovinco will be frustrated. Not a single goal for Toronto. Saborio scores the winning goal in the first half. DC prevails, 0-1.
United is probably going to have to rotate heavily after putting a ton of physical effort in Wednesday and a lot of emotional effort into last Saturday's game. Meanwhile, Sebastian "always scores 2-3 goal of the year candidates on DC" Giovinco is probably coming back for this one. I want to sit here and tell you United will play a disciplined defensive game, grinding out some kind of 1-1 draw with attacking starters subbing in to save the point for the Black-and-Red, but I can't shake the suspicion that if Giovinco plays, he'll score twice.
Here's how I see it going: United mostly keeps the game at a pace they'd prefer for about 40 minutes, but Giovinco scores some sort of physics-defying goal around the 40th minute. TFC pushes hard for another early in the second half, but runs aground. Just as it appears they might become frustrated enough to lose their shape and focus, Giovinco does something else that possibly involves a rip in space-time to make it 2-0. United sends in the cavalry, and Patrick Mullins scrambles a goal home, but Giovinco responds again with a goal that belongs in Mega Man Soccer and not in real life. Giovinco 3, DCU 1.
It's all well and good to pick up a win at home when you're fighting for a playoff spot, but obviously, it's a different thing entirely on the road. And against this Toronto team, let's just say it won't be easy to grab another three points. I'd like to say United will impress everyone and get the away win, but realistically I don't see it happening. I can believe they'll eek out a draw, though. 1-1 for this one, Mullins with the goal because I'm all about those Mullins goals.
Well, what do you think? Hit the comments with your predictions, but before you do, here's your poll: