D.C. United takes on the Houston Dynamo for the first time this season, and are in need of a win against a team that traditionally dominates them. Given that, Houston's World Cup absences, and Eddie Johnson's suspension, what did our writers think would happen tonight?
The World Cup-related absences of Davis and Boniek Garcia should once again weigh heavily on Houston, which is also dealing with a Will Bruin who's coming off an injury. Unless the Dynamo really target Christian, then, I wouldn't expect them to do too much damage at RFK. 2-0 to the Black and Red.
The urge to say "here we go again" in the wake of the 1-1 draw at home to Montreal is strong. That was a game that a good team should probably have won. Montreal ceded possession to DCU and still generated more shots on goal than DC while mustering the same amount of shots. Houston may be weakened by international absences, but they're going to come to RFK organized and defiant. They'll go up, we'll answer, and they'll win it in the 2nd half. 2-1 Houston. The winless head-to-head streak continues.
For me, the Houston Dynamo franchise is the Eastern Conference measuring stick for D.C. United: a team that doesn't spend a lot of money on player salaries, with a new stadium in their urban core, who consistently wins with a strong playing style and a smart coach/front office team. This game is our "program" against their "program", and a win (by any means) would be a big step for D.C. United against a team that has owned them for the last few years. With that said, while a win is possible, I see this match ending up 1-1, showing that the Black-and-Red have closed the gap on Forever Orange, but there is still work to do.
If D.C. United comes out at the start of a game and nobody is there to see it, did it really happen? I think we'll find out tonight when Ben Olsen finally - finally! - gets the guys to start the match in gear. The few fans in attendance - ugh on Wednesdays - will get to see another Fabian Espindola special as he finishes off United's early pressure on the Dynamo. Unfortunately, I don't see Benny fully getting through to his charges, and they'll let off the gas, allowing Houston back into the game and, eventually, conceding an equalizer. 1-1.
WAPHOW (We Always Play Houston On Wednesdays), and if the forecast for the game serves correct, it will be another wet Houston Wednesday match. You all know what that means: We Win When It Rains. That mantra holds true. Espindola and Rolfe give us 2 more reasons to do the rain dance and a 3rd one from the Bos offsets a Houston goal and seals it...3-1 DCU.
Saturday's lackluster offensive effort against a vulnerable Montreal team did little to reassure me that the production of the team has been righted, and I don't think it is going to blow up all of a sudden against what will be a likely physical, somewhat defensive and usually well-coached Houston team midweek. With a team that has not been credited for two goals in one game against an 11-man squad since late March, I do not expect D.C. to score two, but I would expect a 1-0 game that Houston wins.
Very tricky game for the black and red. Houston have shown vulnerabilities at times this year but have also shown a fair bit of offensive firepower. Perry Kitchen's handling of Giles Barnes will be crucial. I say United tie 1-1 again with Will Bruin starting the scoring for the Dynamo before Fabian Espindola equalizes before halftime. A tie isn't the worst result for United, but a win could be a real momentum builder.
It's funny how soccer works. If United had beaten Montreal on the Impact, I'd be predicting a slow, sloppy 1-1 draw here due to it being a midweek game and the predicted storms. However, I think United will take some of their frustrations out on the shorthanded Dynamo. I do still expect a choppy sort of game, but I think a scrambled goal off a set piece in the first half puts the home team in charge, and United gets a 2-0 lead through Espindola before Houston pulls one back late. 2-1 good guys.
Houston brings its B game. So does DCU. Not a pretty way to get there - but we celebrate a 2-0 victory in the end, thanks to A-game moments from Hamid, Korb, Espindola and Rolfe.
Even though Houston struggles in every regular season, they can still be counted upon to beat up on D.C. United. Give me a 2-1 loss for United, with Will Bruin scoring a brace again against United, because that's the only time he scores.
What are your predictions for tonight's game against the Houston Dynamo?