The last time D.C. United played at FedExField, an Higuain scored against them in a 3-0 win for the visitors. The last time the Columbus Crew played in DC, a different Higuain scored for the visitors as they downed the Black-and-Red. But tomorrow evening, when United take on the visiting Crew out at FedExField, no Higuain will be playing. Which obviously means something. Or, more likely, nothing at all, but I thought it was an interesting bit of trivia. Anyway, onto the predictions.
Remember that Columbus team that won their first three (including in Seattle) and we were wondering what their ceiling was? I think they are at this point as well, winning 1 of their last 11, with their coach saying "this team doesn't have full confidence right now." Yet here they are, tied for fourth with Houston, calendar stipulation aside. Another example where banking points early helps, that and a crummy conference at least.
And while D.C. are missing Perry Kitchen, the Crew will be sans Federico Higuain and wondering if they should rush Will Trapp back into a lineup that Bernardo Anor started left back in Wednesday. Both teams will get their taste of D.C. weather of 80+ temperatures and 60%+ humidity, which I have to think will sap the Crew who will be on their 3rd game in eight days (as we get ready to do that ourselves soon), even if Ethan Finley and Jairo Arrieta would be presumed/expected to start. 1-0 DC, Rolfe from Espindola.
We're talking bout FedEx...not RFK, not RFK, we talking bout FedEx man! And because it's at edEx, United puts on a show for the remainder of the 50,000+ people who stick around after the Spain-El Salvador. 3-0 DCU, with goals by Espindola (2) and EJ and Rolfe dishing out dimes like fellow hairstyle buddy Steve Nash.
Ryan Bacic (who will be in the press box for both games Saturday)
Federico Higuain killed the Black and Red in the Crew's win earlier in the season, when Columbus was heating up and DCU hadn't quite gotten itself together. In short, everything that contributed to United's loss won't be on the table at FedEx. 3-1 DCU.
Adam M Taylor
All respect to Ben Speas, but he's no Federico Higuain. Like United in 2012, the Crew will have to learn how to win without their talismanic creator. This is not the week they figure that out, and United run out 2-0 winners in front of the biggest (announced) crowd of the season, Eddie Johnson netting on either side of halftime.
The Crew run everything through Federico Higuain. Without him, the task becomes monumentally easier. United didn't do that in March and paid the price. Even without the formidable presence of Perry Kitchen, United punishes Higuain's absence, and wins 2-1 as a result. Both goals from Espindola.
D.C. United needs to beat the Crew, and should beat the Crew. The buffet of home games the Black-and-Red have been feasting on will come to an end in July, so they must pile up points before they become road warriors through the remainder of the season. Yes, this paragraph is truly the single worst piece of purported-tactical analysis in the history of soccer, but it somehow points to a 2-1 D.C. United win, with goals from Espindola and Silva.
Let's keep it simple: If you're in MLS and are facing a mediocre team that has one MVP contender, and that guy is not playing, and that team is playing their third game in eight days, and you're at home, you really don't have any excuse but to win. And now I'll pile on: Columbus minus Higuain is toothless going forward; half of their normal back four is in Brazil with the Costa Rican national team; and Michael Parkhurst, who thought he'd be joining them in Brazil, is carrying the psychological scars of his being cut from the USMNT on the field right now.
I am nervous about United having to cope without Perry Kitchen, but Columbus is missing their Espindola, their Christian, their Parke, and probably their Kitchen too. 2-0 United, with goals from Espindola and, off the bench, Luis Silva.
Is this the rout we've been waiting for? Is this the defense that can't mark EJ because they've gotten themselves all worked up about Espindorolfe? In front of tens of thousands who stick around after the Spain-El Salvador match, EJ shines like the top of the Chrysler Building, scoring twice, and captures a whole lot of new fans for the rest of our season (I used another Broadway musical reference when I promised I wouldn't!). DCU 3, Columbus 1.
Whenever D.C. United is supposed to win, they put up a bad performance. I think that streak continues, but DCU still puts up a 1-0 victory.
If you told me that Federico Higuain would miss this match due to injury, and Columbus would trade Dominic Oduro to Toronto for... something, presumably... the day before the match, and then ask me what would happen during the game, I'd say "Oh, D.C. United is going to win 1-0 in front of the DCU fans that cared to pony up for the Spain match and a smattering of Salvadorans who stayed to see whether either team features any of their compatriots (they don't.)"
What's that? Higuain is out and Oduro is off to Toronto for something, presumably? Oh, D.C. United is going to win 1-0 in front of the DCU fans that cared to pony up for the Spain match and a smattering of Salvadorans who stayed to see whether either team features any of their compatriots (they don't.)
Let's hear your predictions in the comments.