Let’s be clear: the loss against the Montreal Impact was bad. D.C. United don’t even have the luxury of calling it a fluke loss—it was just a loss, a little surprising because the game should have been winnable, but a loss that by DCU’s current standards was no fluke.
The Black-and-Red have some sad current standards, and we’ve been wondering for weeks if this is when they turn it around, or this, or this, or...still nope. So is this the game where they bounce back? Truly?
Jury’s still out.
Donald Wine II
This time last week, I was really confident about our chances against Philly. Then, Saturday saw us lose to Montreal and Philly Sapong their way to victory. Couple that with the fact that our team is a walking M*A*S*H unit, and it’s hard to predict victory. Still, I think while we’re not playing particularly well lately, we are still a better team than the Union. Luciano Acosta controls the midfield and sets up Patrick Mullins for the Black-and-Red’s only goal. Bill Hamid comes back and makes five saves, but a breakdown defensively late allows CJ Sapong to equalize and steal a point. 1-1 and United settles for a point that really should have been three.
Echoing Donald's comment a little, I write without knowing how exactly the back four will line up Saturday. I mean, it could possibly be (left to right) Taylor Kemp, Kofi Opare, Steve Birnbaum and...Chris Odoi-Atsem? Chris Korb? Me? On the flip side, Luciano Acosta, Lloyd Sam, and Patrick Mullins will get some quality time together which is nice, right?
Philly is a strange situation. They won their first game in almost nine months last week, so duck one was broken. They've not taken points at RFK since 2013, so duck two is certainly there for the taking. And Philly has quietly gotten their defensive house in order the last couple of games so I think this one will be a little tougher than expected. Screw it, I'll go 1-0 Philly with CJ Sapong being the only name on the scoresheet.
The Union are coming off of what looks like a big win, but it should be noted that until CJ Sapong opened the scoring in the 74th minute, they were largely doing the same stuff that had seen them go winless since last August. It was a win that owed more to some truly dreadful NYRB defending than the Union finally finding themselves, and other than the obvious morale boost Philly will get, Jim Curtin still has a ton of things to work on.
As such, I feel better about this one than I normally would coming off of last week's miserable loss to Montreal. I think we'll see Patrick Mullins from the start, and I think United is going to at least start to learn their lesson about urgency early in games. Mullins gets a fairly fluky goal in the opening 20 minutes, and then—after some back-and-forth play—United bags a crucial second just before halftime through Ian Harkes. Philly pushes back, and Sapong gets them within one (he always brings his very best against the Black-and-Red), but ultimately United does just enough to get the W. 2-1 DCU.
D.C. United broke their first slide of the season against the Philadelphia Union, and are looking to do the same this time around. While they finally beat their losing streak, the Union still are missing plenty of people and haven't yet rounded into form. D.C. United needs this game to get back on the right track, and I think they figure it out with Lucho Acosta getting back on the scoresheet and Patrick Mullins opening his account for the year. CJ Sapong probably scores too, but United will see it out.
The Union are who they are, and one fluky second half doesn't change that. Who D.C. United are at this point is a more open question, of course. I think they bounce back from their flattest home performance of the year with a more convincing showing against the DOOPers. Patrick Mullins and Lloyd Sam set each other up for a couple of goals. CJ Sapong scores because that's what he does against the Black-and-Red, but Ian Harkes breaks through for his first professional goal and los Capitalinos come out 3-1 winners.
Okay, but really...DCU will win this one, right? I’m asking. It’s been noted that perhaps the Union aren’t the fiercest of opponents right now, but you know, neither are the Black-and-Red. However, that loss against the Impact stung, and I think United will make things right(ish) at RFK tomorrow. 2-1 with goals from Lloyd Sam and Patrick Mullins, and it’s three points for the home side. I mean...right?
What are you predicting? Let us know in the comments, but not before you take this week’s silly poll:
We’re casting players in National Treasure (just go with it). Who’s best suited for which role?
This poll is closed
Taylor Kemp is our hero whom no one believes but who is ultimately right, damn it
Ian Harkes is the plucky genius sidekick
Lamar Neagle is the reluctant co-conspirator who ends up a full believer
Chris Pontius is the former friend, current bad guy who thwarts the hero at every turn