DC United is not even close to the team I expected during my 2013 predictions. Two goals away from being in the 2012 MLS Cup final, the Black & Red sits last in the Eastern conference, last in all of MLS. With only 10 points before facing the Impact, D.C look like an easy target for Montreal.
But there is no easy game in MLS and as much as it sounds more cliche than anything else, it is true. The Montreal Impact's 1-0 win against Sporting Kansas City was huge when you look at the Eastern conference standings. Even if it was against the best team in the league, it still was not impressive looking back at the team's overall play.
The good news is that D.C. United has been horrible this year. The bad news is that the D.C. United is not as bad the standings say. Montreal has not won once at RFK Stadium since joining MLS. On one side is a team that just broke a 5-game winless streak. On the other, the host team is in the middle of a 5-game winless streak.
Every Game Counts
Everyone will be looking at the standings, at the end of each MLS week. This week will not be different , au contraire. Some results will help Montreal, others will not. But the biggest focus for Marco Schallibaum is to get his troops to stay focused on DC.
The club should not even think about having games on hand. It can definitely tone down the sense of urgency that the club needs to be in to start a winning momentum.
1 - Sporting KC 36 pts : vs NY
2- New York Red Bulls 35 pts : vs SKC
3- Montreal Impact 35 pts : vs D.C United
4- Philadelphia Union 34 pts : vs Chicago
7- Chicago Fire 25 pts : vs the Union
Marco Di Vaio vs Dwayne De Rosario
Both offensive stars are older, experienced. You either help them flourish or try to shut them down, depending where you stand. Even if the Impact might be looking to counter attack at RFK stadium, Di Vaio is still the main target to score goals or at least generate offensive sparks.
De Rosario has been unhappy with the lacklustre performances of his teammates and was not shy to share his thoughts. He is still a talented player and will be looking to bring some life back to the 2012 Eastern Conference finalists.
Luis Silva vs new-look defence
Luis Silva is enjoying getting more playing time since being traded from Toronto FC. With Nick DeLeon and Perry Kitchen, Silva should be right at home playing alongside young players. The difference is that D.C. United's young players have talent.
Hassoun Camara should be back as a central defender as Alessandro Nesta did not make the trip due to injury. Will we see Karl W. Ouimette get some playing time? or just assume that Dennis Iapichino will start as the left back.?
Go for the Swiss but I don't like and I hope to be wrong.
Is Ben Olsen on borrowed time?
The young head coach seems to have the full confidence of the club to continue as the big honcho. With the playoffs being more of a mirage, Olsen will be focusing on how to get his younger players to the next level. It's not a easy task to motivate experienced players to join in a developmental cycle, half-way through the season.
Nothing blue to declare except for the Impact jerseys. But one must hope that Les Bleus will not get the road trip blues as they need to prepare a mid-week CONCACAF Champions League game against the San Jose Earthquakes.