March is over tomorrow, guys. We’re forgetting about March. March was a bad month for D.C. United soccer, and April is going to be a good one. We hope, anyway.
People talk about April showers, and I assume that applies to goals. United have yet to score one this season, and it’s getting...pretty annoying. To start April off on the right foot (since we failed to start the season off that way), a couple goals and three points against rivals the Philadelphia Union sure would be nice tomorrow.
And, for better or worse, we are indeed predicting that the Black-and-Red get some goals.
D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union played in the preseason, and it has already had a deleterious effect on team. Regular season matches are no different, despite the relative friendliness between the two fanbases. But I think that United can finally get off the slide and get some goals and a win, especially now that they are out of March, with a 2-1 victory priming them for the rest of the season. And I wouldn't be surprised if there were a red card, too.
The Black-and-Red enter Saturday ready to put March behind them and start off on the right track…firstly by scoring a goal. That goal will come in the 31st minute from Lloyd Sam, and the pressure will finally be off. I think Ortiz gets on the board as well, but in the end, we let in two (Chris Pontius and Alejandro Bedoya) and we end with a 2-2 draw.
Since we don't yet know the severity of Patrick Mullins's injury, I assume that Jose Ortiz will get the start at forward. He'll need to come right in and hit the ground running, as this D.C. team hasn't yet scored a goal, despite generating the 7th most shots on goal per game (4.3) in the league. Philadelphia has allowed two goals in each of their last two games, and I've talked myself into thinking they'll be the ones to allow United their first. I've got a 1-1 draw, with Lloyd Sam's opener being canceled out by Fabian Herbers.
Good news, worried United fans: the Union back four struggles badly with direct attacking play, and their central midfield doesn't do a whole lot to help out. Since United wants to play up-tempo, vertical soccer, it's a good match-up (as we saw in the preseason, when United's starters took Philly's to the cleaners). I suspect the two weeks between games has been a handy reset for the Black-and-Red, who will hopefully have used the time to straighten out how they press the ball and how they manage their own defensive gaps.
Look for United to grab a lead midway through the first half, as Jose Ortiz pokes home a loose ball following a free kick scramble in the box. The Union will get back level around the hour mark through CJ Sapong, but United will have an immediate reply, with Patrick Nyarko slicing in to give DCU the lead again on an assist from Lucho Acosta. Lamar Neagle will come in late to score a stoppage time goal on the break. 3-1 United.
The Black-and-Red have had two weeks to sort out their finishing woes, and even without Patrick Mullins leading the line, I think we see progress on that front. United applies pressure early and often, but James Blake does his best Bill Hamid impression to keep the game scoreless into halftime. Los Capitalinos break through early in the second stanza, though, with Luciano Acosta and Jose Ortiz combining to set up Patrick Nyarko.
After that, the weight is off the team's collective shoulders, and the finishing boots are well and truly on. Ortiz gets on the board following a miscommunication between Philly's center backs, and Acosta does something outrageous to score a Goal of the Week nominee. The Union get a couple of their own through a Chris Pontius brace (sadface), but Lamar Neagle grabs a capper for the good guys on a late counter. 4-2 to D.C. United, and we all wipe the skunk off.
It's been a rough start for D.C. United through the first month of the 2017 season. Just one point in three games is more than the number of goals they scored in March. April will get off to a better start for the Black-and-Red, with Ben Olsen's side scoring early on against the Philadelphia Union. Patrick Nyarko finally ends the the longest scoreless streak to start a season for United with a strike in the first half. United have the chances to double their lead, but can't convert on those opportunities. The Union score just before the start of stoppage time though, splitting points, and making United wait even longer for their first win of the season.
Look, it’s time to score a goal. It was already time to score a goal, like, at least two games ago. A home game against Philly after a two week rest should be the right conditions to get something on the board for DCU. Like everyone else, I have to believe that Ben Olsen’s side will do it, but I’m not convinced we’re looking at a solid win. I’ve been burned before. Instead, I’ll say it ends in a 1-1 draw, Lucho Acosta and Chris Pontius (Party Boy noooo) with the goals.
What do you think will happen tomorrow? Share your predictions in the comments, but first, you know it’s silly poll time!
It’s April Fools’ Day and you need a pranking partner. Who do you choose and why?
This poll is closed
Ian Harkes, because he knows what great/terrible pranks the kids are up to these days
Lucho Acosta, because he’s small and crafty, and he’ll help you do something unexpected
Bobby Boswell, because he may have lost a step but he’s still a seasoned prank veteran
Bill Hamid, because he’ll do all the grunt work of setting up the prank and make you look amazing upon success