After a month-long road trip that saw D.C. United come up with just two points, there is palpable pressure when it comes to today’s home game against the Montreal Impact. As we discussed earlier in the week, United probably needs to win a minimum of three games during the run of four straight at home that starts this evening. The Black-and-Red seem to know full well how important it is to get some wins, and they’ve continued adding to their attack by trading for Chicago Fire forward/winger Kennedy Igboananike.
Getting back to winning ways won’t be easy, as the Impact are capable of beating anyone in MLS on their day. Didier Drogba, Ignacio Piatti, and Laurent Ciman all played in Thursday’s all-star game, though none longer than 45 minutes. Montreal has had their problems defensively on occasion, but their attack has produced 35 goals on the year, good enough to be tied with Dallas and Philadelphia for the 3rd highest total in MLS. Piatti - a legitimate MVP candidate - has been key all season, while Drogba has managed to produce 8 goals and 5 assists in just 929 total minutes played.
In other words, while the focus of most talk about United has been on the punchless attack, the Black-and-Red probably can’t win this game without one of their best front-to-back team defensive performances of 2016. Montreal’s heavy investment in their front line and midfield - they just brought in defensive midfielder Hernan Bernardello, who while not a DP is still a pricey move - has left them a bit vulnerable in the back, but Montreal is the kind of team that seems comfortable engaging in a shootout.
Location: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (Washington, DC)
Kickoff time: 6:30pm 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.