In today’s match, Whitecaps FC get the chance to play spoiler, as D.C. United will be desperate for three points to keep themselves in the playoff race. United find themselves five points out of the last playoff spot, but they have two games in hand on their nearest playoff rivals, Houston Dynamo and New York Red Bulls. This will be their last match on the road before they finish with three matches at home.
It is always an adventure when D.C. United plays; they are one of the top scoring teams (46 goals for) and have conceded the second most goals (46 goals against) in Major League Soccer this season. This match should be no different, as head coach Ben Olsen’s squad battles tooth and nail to get into the post-season. United have played a 4-4-2 formation for most of the season and, as their stats suggest, they can be very dangerous going forward. However, they do leave themselves vulnerable at the back, so expect to see a very entertaining match.
D.C. have some concerns entering this match, as they have lost their last two on the road – 3-2 in Philadelphia and 2-1 in Columbus – and they cannot afford any other slip-ups. They will be keeping their fingers crossed that star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario will be available after playing a full 90 minutes in Canada’s World Cup qualifying match against Puerto Rico in Toronto last night. De Rosario is a lethal attacker who is having an MVP season. He is currently tied for the league lead in goals (14) and is third in assists (12). Though he will have to fly through the night from Toronto to Vancouver to play, that fatigue is a risk United will be willing to take. Even if they’re forced to start him on the bench, he is too vital a player for them not to get on the field to make an impact before the end of the match. De Rosario is no stranger to 'Caps fans, as he comes to Vancouver for the third time with his third different team this season after previously visiting with Toronto FC in the first match of the season and later with New York.
Vancouver, meanwhile, are coming off a very exciting 3-0 victory against Real Salt Lake last week for their first win on Bell Pitch at BC Place. Coach Tommy Soehn shook up the line-up by adding a number of players who have seen limited playing time, hoping to get a more energized performance. And they did not disappoint. Long Tan, Nizar Khalfan, and newcomer Carlyle Mitchell had outstanding performances. The players and fans were able to feed off each other in one of the ‘Caps better performances of the season.
Coach Soehn and his staff now have the difficult decision of getting the right balance for what will be a more difficult game against a D.C. United team with everything to play for.
But hey, to the victor goes the spoils, and that’s all the motivation they should need.