No need to rehash what happened last week against Columbus. Suffice it to say that our staff predictions were about as successful as D.C. United was on the night. Here's hoping that will change - on one or both counts - against Toronto FC this week.
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I'm not ready to go around predicting wins - which, I'm told, are theoretically possible in non-preseason/non-Open Cup soccer - but I do think TFC got a little too much credit for what was in reality Seattle simply handing them an early 2-0 lead. This is still a team relying on Steven Caldwell and Justin Morrow to cover for Doneil Henry and (insert right back). So I'm not crazy enough to say DC is going to win, but I do think we score goals, plural. Give me 2-2 and a week of "Well, they could be worse" replacing "Are we the worst, still?!"
I will happily be proven wrong, but I think that pulling any points against Toronto FC in front of a sold-out crowd that will be frothing for a win will be a tough task; also, Michael Bradley against the midfield that showed up in the Columbus Crew game has me frightened. I will go with a 2-1 loss for the Black and Red, with some progress being made that will be lost under the topline result.
If there ever was a game screaming out for an empty bucket, this is it. Facing the USMNT's best player, an in-form striker from England's MNT, and Brazil's goalie should be reason enough to bring back D.C. United's hated formation from previous years. Add in a D.C. United attack that still hasn't come together and weather which proves MLS should never switch to FIFA's currently preferred winter schedule (hi of 41F, 50% chance of snow, and winds 15-25 mph), and you've got the perfect storm inviting Ben Olsen to park the bus. He does, it works, and in one of the worst games for spectators of the season, the Black-and-Red depart Canada with a 0-0 draw.
On the road, against a team with dangerous players, United's defense will be compact and maybe even organized. Unfortunately, there will be at least one moment where someone makes a mistake and loses the ball in the midfield with United's defenders moving up the pitch, where Toronto can counter with Jermain Defoe at full speed in behind. Really, just one of those chances is all he needs, which I know all too well as a Spurs fan. 1-0 Toronto.
Adam M Taylor
While his rope is getting shorter and shorter, In Benny We Trust for at least another week. So I'll say we address last week's shortcomings and manage to find the back of the net a couple times through Eddie Johnson and Luis Silva. But I just don't see us keeping Jermaine Defoe off the board, and Dwayne De Rosario always scores on his former teams. So we're looking at a 2-2 draw that represents a positive step into next week's return to RFK against the Fire.
One would think that after a couple of games that Luis Silva remembers to play both halves of the 90 minutes rather than just the second one, and that's assuming that he starts against Michael Bradley. I'll roll with Ben on this and say 2-1 TFC and more gnashing of teeth ensues.
After a horribly inaccurate 2-1 prediction for the opener, I'm not willing to commit to any DCU goals now until we actually see them. How long will this unit take to gel and for EJ to round into form under Ben Olsen? Tough to tell. But I'm not letting myself get hurt like that again: I'll say 2-0 TFC.
We'll find out tomorrow if any of us get this one right - with no staff member predicting 3 points for United, here's hoping we're all wrong. Let us know what you think will happen come Saturday afternoon in the comments.