It is a busy day in soccer, with the Women's World Cup kicking off in Canada and the UEFA Champions League final this afternoon between Barcelona and Juventus. But our humble D.C. United also plays this evening, taking on Toronto FC for the first time this season. Let us know what you think will happen in the comments!
We get Chris Rolfe back, while TFC will be short handed with Bradley in Europe on USMNT duty and Jozy injured. They still have Giovinco and that's good, but it won't be enough for the Black & Red. Sticking with what has apparently been the case the last few matches, Giovinco strikes early and then Rolfe, Espindola and Arnaud (yup) all out biscuits in the basket for the 3-1 victory.
Toronto is on a 3-game unbeaten streak, but that was with Captain Bradley in the midfield. No Bradley this weekend means Giovinco will find himself doing a lot more work to make things happen. DC will playing with a key goal in mind: start strong, fast, and smart, for a change. Don't wait to show up until the 40th minute. Olsen will drill that home, and we'll see if it takes. I predict: a goalfest. It's Espindola's turn to score a brace. Arrieta will add one. DC wins, 3-0.
I must be feeling greedy after Wednesday's three-goal game, because I'm going to demand (errrrr predict) United get another three goals this weekend. Unlike Wednesday, though, this time the Black-and-Red won't give up a goal before coming back for the win. I'm ready for a clean sheet. Give me 3-0, with Rolfe, Espindola, and Arrieta netting for the good guys.
Without Bradley and Altidore, TFC is going to show up looking to defend and counter rather than engage United. Hopefully three straight 1-0 first half deficits have finally taught United a lesson, because eventually that's going to be costly. I see United getting a lead via Fabian Espindola, but the Reds aren't going to roll over. Sebastian Giovinco will score or create some kind of ridiculous equalizer, but I think United gets the winner via another set piece. This time, let's go with Bobby Boswell. 2-1 DCU.
I hinted at it in this week's Throwback Thursday post, but I'll go ahead and get it on the record: I'm calling a Fabian Espindola hat trick. Giovinco will do his own magic somewhere in there to pull one back, but the Fabi show is the story. 3-1 United.
Fabi is back, Rolfe is back and rested, and like everyone has said, Toronto is missing Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. Could this be a trap game? It is definitely possible, but Ben Olsen has been good at balancing which games he must win. Give me a 2-1 victory for United, and they keep pushing their lead at the top of the East.