D.C. United are about to play five games away, which of course they will do with great success and precious many points*
*Alternatively, they will crash and burn with five straight losses
The trip starts with a jaunt up to face the Philadelphia Union, whom the Black-and-Red have already played twice this year, to markedly different results. April’s contest at RFK yielded DCU’s first win—and goals—of the season, a 2-1 relief. More recently, though, May’s game was a 4-0 thrashing at home and a perfect encapsulation of the team’s 2017 struggles.
For this game, we’re predicting something somewhere in the middle of those previous encounters. Lest you forget, DCU actually won once already this week!
Donald Wine II
What? We won? We won a game? Say word?! We won a game! We beat Atlanta! Wait, what? Come again? We scored two goals? Two goals? TWO?! You cannot be serious! That’s amazing! Hold on, you’re breaking up…you said we gotta go to Philly now? Are you kidding me? *Looks at Philly’s recent form* Oh. I haven’t seen such terrible play since…Saturday. So, I’m not expecting much here. I think the theatrics come late. When we win in Philly, a lot of times it’s the new guy that does it late. So, give me Deshorn Brown poaching a goal in the 90+1 minute, Bill Hamid does his best “You better call me up to the Gold Cup 23-man roster” routine, and it’s 1-0 Black-and-Red.
The Union are streaky. They've put together separate streaks of four losses, four wins, and three losses thus far this season, with the last of those being an active streak. They're on the bottom of the East, but a win against D.C. would lift them to no worse than 10th. United come in having broken both their OPEN play scoreless streak and their winless streak. In their two prior meetings this season, United has won one and lost one, so of course we're looking at a draw. Patrick Nyarko sees his first half goal canceled out by C.J. Sapong, and it ends 1-1. It's a cold world.
What's the word about this one? It's gotta be rotation. D.C. is in game two of five in a 14-day stretch. Their midweek U.S. Open Cup opponent in the New England Revolution (who plays Toronto FC Friday night) play four in 13, and the Union do as well. The problem is the Union's compressed two weeks starts Saturday, after a full week of rest. Chris Rolfe's 6th minute goal in 2014 is the only thing saving D.C. from being scoreless in their last four regular season games at Talen Energy, and given all that, I think Philly comes out ahead 1-0 with a Fafa Picault goal being the difference.
The fact that D.C. United won midweek means that they are set up for a disappointing game on the weekend. The Union are just as bad as United right now, so this will be a scrappy raccoon fight, and United's players are going to be in need of rotating. I think that CJ Sapong will score another goal against the good guys, Deshorn Brown will pull one back, but Chris Pontius will be there with the dagger.
Believe it or not, D.C. United's win on Wednesday was not their first all year, and in fact they enter this game ahead of the Union. All of Philly's wins came in one 14 day outburst last month; outside of that period of time, they're 0W-4D-7L and come into this one on a three-game losing streak. D.C. is still desperate, of course, but the Union are feeling the tension too.
I figure United weathers an early storm (you know, the typical road approach) with a significantly rotated lineup, and starts to gain a foothold heading into halftime as Philly starts to get nervous and frustrated. 10 minutes into the second half, Lloyd Sam bags a goal to give United the lead. However, the schedule catches up to a short-handed DCU—remember, they're still missing several regulars due to injury—and the Union's kitchen-sink approach eventually results in a goal from CJ Sapong in the final few minutes. 1-1.
True story: I was wearing a DCU jersey today and the nice man at Potbelly commented on Wednesday’s game and you guys, I still can’t believe we actually, like, won. So it is possible, which is good to know because I had nearly forgotten. Anyway, I don’t really think we’re going to win this game, unfortunately. A road win, no matter who it’s against, just seems like a lot to ask or expect from this team still. But a 1-1 draw? That I can see and will gladly take. Black-and-Red goal courtesy of Nyarko.
What do you think will happen in tomorrow’s game? Share your prediction in the comments, but don’t forget to take this silly poll first:
Shout out to my man the DCU fan at Potbelly! What’s your favorite one-dollar-sign sandwich stop?
This poll is closed
Gimme that Potbelly
Subway, eat fresh!
Taylor Gourmet, I’m fancy, duh
Jimmy John’s, eat freaky fresh
I like another chain sandwich shop, which I will passionately praise in the comments
I will only eat sandwiches from my local sandwichery, which I will even more passionately praise in the comments