D.C. United will take the field tomorrow afternoon against the Philadelphia Union looking to start a new unbeaten streak to replace the one that was broken deep into second half stoppage time last weekend in Portland. But will the Black-and-Red be able to manage it on the road, for the first time in MLS play since 2012, against one of their more bitter rivals? The traveling contingent in the latest edition of the Philly Invasion (along with the rest of us back in the DMV) will certainly hope so. Here's what our staff think will happen - be sure to share your own predictions down in the comments.
For me this comes down to the midfield. If United's midfielders control the center of the park and feed the ball to attackers in space, then we'll have a lot of success against a suspect Union defense. I say Perry and Arnaud get it done, giving United the 2-0 victory. Espindola with both goals.
Our house, in the middle of Chester! Our house, in the middle of Chester! 2-0 to the Black & Red!
While I see multiple ways D.C. United can win Saturday afternoon's game at The Bridge, I'm going to base this week's prediction strictly on who needs to win this game more. And that's the Philadelphia Union. If they don't win this game, they are on the brink of metaphorically losing their fans and literally letting their season slip away. As much as it pains me, I foresee Edu inspiring his team to a 3-1 over the Black-and-Red.
Poor Aaron Wheeler, Philadelphia's sophomore central defender, must contend with an Eddie Johnson that just got something off his chest and an entire DCU midfield, wings and all, with something to prove to the Klinssman fave. Here, Eddie. Here's your ball, with a dash of nutmeg and a sprinkle of cinnamon. DCU prevails, 2-1.
One of the teams in this game has scored 10 goals and allowed 13 in 10 matches. That same team has not scored one goal in its last three matches. Someone pinch me, because that team is not D.C. United. I actually have a bit of a bad feeling about this one, because it seems really easy to pick, but this is a team that we should beat. 1-0 United.
Adam M Taylor
First off, I think thee Union attack, not based on cleverness or speed but rather brute force with Conor Casey leading the line, is exactly what our rebuilt defense should excel against; Bill Hamid should get his first clean sheet of the season, and after the late-week drama surrounding Eddie Johnson's comments, I expect him to finally get off the schneid and put one in the back of the net, but not before Chris Rolfe opens the scoring. 2-0 to the good guys.
So the Union have one goal in their last three games, and it's an own goal at that. And if you look at the Union lineup, there really is not much to be scared of, other than DC's recurring behavior of staying on the throat of an opponent when holding a lead. 1-0 DC, with Ethan White pulling the mother of all heel turns in Philly.
2! 3! Oh wait, we're not predicting the number of red cards that will be in this game? I will also go with a 1-0 scoreline, with victory to the forces of light and good. Someday Eddie Johnson will get a goal, so why not this Saturday?
John Hackworth has maintained that his team is mostly playing well but for a few big mistakes. To a lesser degree than last year's United, the Union are the sort of team that struggle inside both 18 yard boxes and lose games as a result. Look for Philly to hold a possession edge while United has an easier time creating actual chances. This is probably a game we should win, but I'm reining in my instincts a bit after United let a reeling Portland side up off the canvas last week. 1-1, with Espindola scoring for United.
Without McInerney, there's little to be afraid of in Chester these days (other than, you know, Chester). DCU should win this one by a goal or two - I'll say 2-1 as the Black-and-Red move past last week's debacle to get back on track.
Let us know in the comments how you think it'll go down at PPL Park. Kickoff is 4pm tomorrow afternoon.