Ah, yes, a clash of the bottom feeders. Tomorrow, D.C. United (second-to-last in the Eastern Conference) take on the Montreal Impact (last in the Eastern Conference), in what will probably not be a particularly beautiful game but through which we will all suffer anyway.
Both teams would very much like to wrap up three points, of course, but we’re torn on exactly how we think this one will go down.
Donald Wine II
The Black-and-Red will head to Francophone Canada having scored a mere three goals in May and June in league play. Now we enter the heat of July and the window for the playoffs ("Playoffs?! You kidding me? Playoffs?!”) is already nearing its close. What does United have to do to start July off right and get a victory against Montreal? Everything. First, they gotta score goals. The defense has to be much better to relieve the pressure off Travis Worra. The midfield has to work to create opportunities and control the tempo. Will they do that? My guess is no. I think the scoring woes continue, and it’s a 1-0 loss for the good guys.
Well, at least the regular central defense and Deshorn Brown will be back, and that Montreal is in even a worse injury situation than United. If Piatti can't play, that would be a boon for United, but even with Piatti the Black-and-Red should be able to pull something out. I think that Deshorn Brown will get his first goal for United, and that will be all she wrote in a gritty 1-0 win for the good guys.
Weirdly for as nihilist as I feel about this game and the last three months of the season, I think D.C. can pull it out. Given warm legs and pace of Patrick Nyarko, Luciano Acosta and Deshorn Brown up against what would considered to be a mostly first choice Montreal XI missing some parts like Patrice Bernier, Anthony Jackson-Hamel to Gold Cup call-ups and already missing outside back Ambroise Oyongo and adding Ignacio Piatti on top of it? Sure what the hell. 2-1 D.C. with Brown and Nyarko tallying.
United rested some players Wednesday, and they'll have Deshorn Brown available (again, probably off the bench) to help out. On top of that, Piatti is going to be out, robbing the Impact of by far their most important player just as they're also losing Bernier and Jackson-Hamel. It is the right time to be playing IMFC, certainly. However, I'm not convinced United has the firepower up front right now—even with Luciano Acosta and Patrick Nyarko in the fold—to make it count. Look for a fairly sloppy game between two teams that badly need a win, but likely both badly fear making a big mistake. Eventually Dominic Oduro will give Montreal a lead before halftime, and for quite a while it will look like another shutout loss is on the way.
I can't bring myself to predict it, though, because Montreal is bad and because I just don't want to see "-0" representing United's score for the night. So, let's go with a late equalizer for Brown, inspired by one final burst from Nyarko, to give the Black-and-Red a 1-1 draw that feels kind of like a win until you look at the standings and realize draws against non-playoff teams are two points lost these days.
I don’t know, guys—I’m perhaps not as pessimistic about this team as I have been this season, but at the same time I’m...extremely wary of optimism. It’s encouraging that Montreal are also riding the struggle bus with DCU, but I just don’t have a lot of confidence that the Black-and-Red can find their way to a win. However, unable to admit full defeat, I’m going with a 1-1 draw—Nyarko with the visitors’ goal.
Share your predictions in the comments, and don’t forget to vote in this week’s silly poll!
Which thing on my Netflix list should I actually get around to watching this weekend?
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S5 of House of Cards