D.C. United takes on Tauro FC tonight, and the Black and Red United team thinks that the team should be a walkover for United. As every article about this game has stated, a win or a tie and D.C. United is through to the knockout rounds, and we think that Olsen and company will have that in mind in their preferences for this game. Here is how we think it will play out; be sure to let us know what you think in the comments.
Tauro comes in having lost twice to Waterhouse, who lost twice to DC United. If we take any kind of result from this matchup, we win the group and advance to the knockout stage. I think United seizes on this opportunity to go ahead and put the group out of reach so that they can focus purely on that #1 spot in the East. 3-1 United with the victory and the clinching 3 points.
Give me a 2-0 win for D.C. United using a starting roster made up completely of players who will NOT start Saturday afternoon's game against the Philadelphia Union. Thanks to United's excellent results against Waterhouse FC, they can take a chance at home with a less than full strength side against struggling (and out of CCL contention) Tauro, while saving their Starting XI for the crucial game against the Union. Look for goals by Samuel Inkoom and Collin Martin.
Jean Paul Sartre once said, "In football, everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team." We will see how complicated Tauro makes this for us. We need to put them away early, and then give three key starters the rest they'll need for this Saturday. We'll score twice before the half (one of those will belong to Chris Pontius), and then give up a goal in the 80th minute, give or take. The Black and Red prevail, 2-1.
Tauro F.C. is doing a great job in their impression of a 2008 D.C. United squad, in that both won placement into the CONCAChamps the year before the tournament and then started to suck. Tauro finished 8th in the 2014 Clausura and is eighth in the 2014 Apertura right now. They played first place San Francisco FC last week and play Chorillo this week, and I would imagine that there is greater focus placed on those six point games rather than going full out here. D.C. has Fabian Espindola on a week's rest if they want and can throw a different look at them should they need to. Going 1-0 D.C. and wimping out.
Tauro has been a disaster in motion thus far in the CCL, and that came against an impatient, one-note, still-in-preseason Waterhouse FC. Anything less than a shutout win by more than one goal would count as a disappointment. Tauro can't defend guys that run in behind well at all, so look for David Estrada and/or Michael Seaton to feast. Give me a goal for each of them, hopefully on assists from Collin Martin, plus a header on a set piece for...let's say Kofi Opare. 3-0 in the rain.
This one has got to be a win for D.C. They’re at home, against a side that’s already out, with a maybe-sort-of-almost-legit-fit Pontius (and options off the bench). Even without the starters we’ll see against the Union, I expect a solid performance that finds space to attack. Hit me with a cool 3-0, including a vintage Party Boy and an Own Goal strike from the visitors.
Ben Olsen has some interesting decisions to make in the lineup tonight, mostly centering around whether and how long to play guys like Fabian Espindola and Chris Pontius. Look for the former to start and run riot tonight as the latter is held out for better weather and, frankly, a bigger match this weekend. Espindola manages to score one and assist on another as the Black-and-Red fly out to a 2-0 lead, only to allow Tauro to pull one back. The win is more than enough to secure a spot in the knockout round next spring, though, so we should be treated to a rainy celebration post-match.
I imagine D.C. mostly dominating possession, wasting some early chances, and finally scoring just before the break. During the second half we'll wonder why the second goal hasn't come and stress ever so slightly over the possibility of a draw, but just as we're coming to grips with the fact that a draw is frustrating but actually okay because it gets United through, another goal will go in, and it will be a 2-0 victory.
D.C. United is going to take this game rather seriously, as they know the stakes that are at hand. Get the right result in this game, and then the second leg (which is the week before the season ends) can be a complete reserve team. I will go with a 2-0 victory, with goals by the Party Boy and Jared Jeffrey.
What do you all think will happen?