D.C. United plays their third game in seven days, before getting almost two full weeks off due to the international break. A win against Toronto FC would almost guarantee United a spot in the MLS playoffs; if the chips fall a certain way today, United could actually and mathematically clinch a spot today.
But United haven’t beaten a playoff-bound team in a long time, and they’ve also only beaten one team on the road this year. Doing all of this while likely rotating some players is a very tall task indeed. But if anyone is going to be able to do it, it is this current iteration of this season’s D.C. United, against a Toronto FC that may or may not have full strength Sebastian Giovinco. Stranger things have happened, so why not a three game winning streak for the first time since the “one shot, one goal” game against Montreal last season.
Canada giveth, and Canada taketh away, eh?
D.C. United projected starting XI: I think that, at least in the attack, Ben Olsen goes with some substitutes, both to get them experience and to make sure that key players like Patrick Nyarko and Lloyd Sam don’t get overuse injuries. I think that Lamar Neagle and Kennedy Igboananike definitely start; Patrick Mullins versus Alvaro Saborio is a little closer, but I think Saborio gets the nod and then Mullins can come on early in the second half. Mullins’ health is of the utmost importance, so giving him even a little extra break could be key.
The same goes for Luciano Acosta, who seemed to be nursing a knock in the last game. If he can be given a break, with perhaps Julian Buescher starting with Jared Jeffrey and Rob Vincent, he can be fresh and fully ready for the end of the season and the playoffs. However, without a result here the playoffs are no guarentee, so I can see Ben Olsen also trying to go for it all out here as well, with the international break giving everyone a rest coming up.
Match previews: We’ve got ll sorts of previews: We have podcasts, staff and reader predictions, questions with our friends across the border, and all the info you need to watch tonight’s game. Also, if you want to see what the league has to say about the game, you can take a look at that too.
Referee: THE GEIGER SHOW
What are you drinking? I’m going old school with some bourbon, vermouth, and bitters: a Manhattan!
Prediction: I’m probably blinded by optimism, but I think that United can get a result out of this game. Give me, like I said in the predictions above, a 1-1 draw.
As always, this is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game chatter.