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D.C. United vs. Toronto FC 2016: Game time, TV schedule and live stream for MLS

Despite indifferent form of late, TFC promises to be a tough foe for United

D.C. United is following a well-worn path in MLS, finding their best form in September and charging towards the postseason after having spent much of the year merely keeping touch with the playoff places. Back-to-back wins - the first positive or negative streak of the season for the Black-and-Red - over Orlando and Columbus have pushed United four points above the red line.

In fact, there’s even a scenario in which United could qualify for the playoffs by Sunday afternoon. If New England, Orlando, and Columbus all lose this weekend while United defeats Toronto FC, a playoff spot would be mathematically assured for DC. Don’t get too excited about that just yet: Columbus would have to lose to a Chicago side with a 1W-2D-12L road record, while the Revs and Lions are both hosting teams they are capable of beating as well. Possible does not mean probable in this case.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. United does still need to win a road game in this hypothetical, and that has been a rare occurrence. The Black-and-Red have only lost five of fifteen road games, but they’ve also got just one away win. TFC may not have the world’s most intimidating home record (27 of a possible 45 points at BMO Field this year), and they may have just three draws and a loss in their last four games on the banks of Lake Ontario, but they’re still in the running to finish atop the Eastern Conference. They still have multiple game-breaking players, and they still barely ever give up goals. The Black-and-Red will have to overcome tired legs and be at their very best to make it three straight wins today.

Key player: Bill Hamid

It stands to reason that United will have to rotate some normal starters out. They don’t even really have the luxury in central midfield, where Julian Buescher is the only available player who didn’t go 90 minutes on Wednesday. They’re having to do that on the road against a TFC side that has Jozy Altidore (8 goals since July 31st) and should be getting Sebastian Giovinco back for at least a substitute’s role. Given Giovinco’s tendency to score multiple brilliant goals every time he plays against United, this is unfortunate news.

So while it will surely require a full-field effort to restrict TFC’s big names from getting on the ball, there will be a few times today that Hamid has to be United’s equalizer. After all, impossible saves are the only way to stop impossible goals. It was nice to see Hamid never need to go beyond solid, fundamental goalkeeping against the Crew, but in all likelihood he’ll have to pair that with some highlight reel saves today.

Location: BMO Field (Toronto, Canada)

Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern

Available TV: NewsChannel 8 and regional affiliates (check the link for the over-the-air alternate channel in your area)

Available streaming: MLS Live for those outside the blackout radius

For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.

Our gamethread will be posted one hour before kickoff.