The last time D.C. United met New York City FC, a stoppage time goal from Alvaro Saborio gave the Black-and-Red a 2-1 victory as well as a spot in the 2015 MLS playoffs. We're months away from games carrying that kind of weight, but this game still looks quite important for two remodeled teams. United holds the last playoff spot in the East thanks only to goal difference, with NYCFC at -2 to DC's 0. In a conference full of teams with a tendency to draw and no clear leader emerging, three points today could be quite important down the road.
Key Player: Luciano Acosta
With Chris Rolfe suspended and Fabian Espindola's ability to go 90 minutes unknown, it's time for "La Joya" to shine. NYCFC has struggled badly with defending through the midfield, which doesn't help an already flimsy back four. Acosta's ability to make opponents look foolish on the dribble, combined with his eye for a killer pass, fits well with the New York club's flaws.
Acosta has picked up 1 goal and 3 assists in his last 4 games, but a pair of those assists turned a late 2-0 lead into a 4-0 rout. The goal was somewhat similar, as the young Argentine killed off a 1-0 game with a sumptuous chip against New England. Last week, in horrid conditions, Acosta made a tangible, game-changing impact: Patrick Nyarko headed in his cross from a short corner to give United a point on the road in Chicago.
Of late, Acosta has made a clear argument that he deserves to stay in the starting lineup. Today against NYCFC, he needs to further that argument and help the Black-and-Red to a win.
Location: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (Washington, DC)
Kick-off time: 7:30pm Eastern
Available TV: Fox Sports 1 (English), Fox Deportes (Spanish)
Available streaming: Fox Sports Go (English)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Our gamethread will be posted an hour before kickoff.