D.C. United returns to RFK Stadium Sunday at 4 p.m. to continue its two-game playoff with the Houston Dynamo. In order to avoid elimination, United must overcome the 3-1 deficit the visitors opened in last weekend’s series opener. It’s an uphill climb for United, but it’s far from impossible. Leading scorer Dwayne De Rosario might even play for the first time in two months, which would boost United’s attack.
But I wouldn’t feel shock or surprise if United escapes with a victory on Sunday. I would feel vindication. Sports — that collective force governed by fate, luck and questionable refereeing — owes D.C. after what happened to the Nationals. Anyone who witnessed that inning-by-inning, six-run evaporation in Game 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals has an idea of how Houston is feeling right now with a two goal lead. Baseball isn’t soccer, obviously, but two-goal leads disappear in soccer far more often than six-run leads turn around in baseball.
Plus, Ben Olsen’s team has already endured sufficient adversity this postseason, sacrificing home field advantage to the New York Red Bulls because of Superstorm Sandy, then having to endure a snow-out in New Jersey, before winning the series in the dying moments on Nov. 8, after starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid was sent off and backup Joe Willis saved a penalty kick. After all that, what’s a little two goal deficit at home?
A limited number of tickets for Sunday’s match are available through Ticketmaster. Prices start at $35. Vamos United.