Let's go to Canada, eh? D.C. United are headed up there for the first time this season, and it's to take on a Toronto FC side that really spoiled things for us at RFK earlier in the year. Let's hope we don't see another first minute goal—unless one of our guys is scoring it, of course.
United hasn't won on the road since a storm-delayed victory at Kansas City Memorial Day weekend. And for almost every match since then, save the home match against New England on June 25th, the team has not performed well and only been able to salvage late draws in some cases. The team needs points to gain ground on the leaders in the East and move towards that playoff line. Toronto has been playing okay but they have been pretty good at home and United has not played well in Drakeville the past few seasons. Me thinks that Hamid stands on his head, and despite a Giovinco laser beam, we get another late goal to salvage a 1-1 draw, with Saborio being the hero.
D.C. United hasn't been great about punishing teams that are missing starters or otherwise vulnerable coming into a game, as Toronto will be this weekend, which only adds to the Bad Feeling I have coming into this weekend. Look for the Black-and-Red to go up early through Lloyd Sam's first goal for the good guys, only for Drew Moor to draw it level on a set piece. Sometime in the second half Tsubasa Endoh finds a winner for the Reds, who hold on against a late United surge. 2-1 TFC.
Sure, it was nice of D.C. to right the ship to an extent last week and all, but to reheat something I babbled about last week, D.C. still hasn't earned much trust until shared results turn into results where they can take all three points. Considering who TFC is missing and with Jozy Altidore about to return and thus, make Giovinco's life a little easier, I'll chalk it up to a 1-0 TFC win.
It is never the same week to week for United, but they've got a new toy to play with now. I'll go with a 1-0 United victory over the Reds, with Patrick Mullins coming off the bench to winning in his first appearance.
I don't have much confidence in this team right now to win on the road. The poor total of one road win belies the fact that D.C. doesn't lose frequently on the road, with 3 losses from 10 MLS matches. Toronto's injury situation is a positive, but they still have Sebastian Giovinco around to score goals. I see a 1-1 draw, with goals by Giovinco and whoever starts at center forward for United.
Excuse me while I shout this: THIS GAME IS THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL ONE OF THE SEASON. We're past the midway point. We're below the redline. If we win, we jump ahead of potentially two teams, but especially Toronto. If we lose, then Toronto joins the outer edges of the pack of teams near the top of the standings who are growing slowly but steadily out of reach for D.C. United. The bright side of this game: D.C. United has a tendency to win at BMO Field. I'll take the good guys, 2-1. Goals by Sam, Nyarko, and Giovinco. CONSEQUENTIAL, FOLKS.
Last week, TFC found themselves in a tie game with a two-man advantage and figured out how to lose anyway. The good news is that this won't do anything for their morale; the bad news is that they probably spent the whole week working on breaking down a massed defense. "Massed defense" has often been United's plan on the road, and I don't think they'll pressure the Reds like they did the Crew last week. I think TFC breaks through early through Jonathan Osorio, and it will briefly look like the floodgates are going to open. However, United will hold on at 1-0, and eventually they'll grab an equalizer as Lucho Acosta scores from close range sometime around the 70th minute. From there, both teams will come very close to a winner, but will have to settle for (yet another) 1-1 draw.
I feel like I've said it so many times, but again: my confidence in this team is not particularly high. Anything is possible, of course, and weird things happen in MLS all the time, but I still don't see this as a win for the Black-and-Red. A draw, though? I can believe it. I'll go for 1-1, with Acosta getting on the board for the visitors.
What's your prediction? Let us know in the comments!