D.C. United is not desperate or in a must-win-or-fall-into-purgatory situation, but a victory in blustery central Ohio would do wonders toward reaching the MLS playoffs for the first time in four years. It would pull the club level with the Crew on points for fourth place in the muddled, mediocre Eastern Conference, having played two fewer matches than Columbus. It would vault DCU over New York by a point, with one game in hand. It would draw them within two points of third-place Houston, with two fewer matches, and within four of first-place Kansas City, with two games in hand. (Second-place Philadelphia visits Chivas USA tonight.)
Given United’s excruciating course this season, they’ll end up with a tie. Am I wrong? Well, they should win. The Crew is in an 0-5-1 rut. Both sides, however, have injury concerns. We’ll eagerly await the lineups.
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET.
TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus, Direct Kick, Matchday Live.
DCU: Hamid; Korb, Kitchen, Woolard, Burch; Najar, Simms, De Rosario, Quaranta; Ngwenya, Davies.
Subs: Willis, McTavish, King, Morsink, da Luz, Brettschneider, Wolff.
Of note: Ethan White didn’t travel because of a sprained knee. Josh Wolff, recovering from multiple ailments, is being saved for possible second-half duty. Devon McTavish (concussion preseason) is on the game-day roster for the first time this season. Chris Korb is making his first start since June 11.
CREW: Hesmer; Miranda, Burns, James, Francis; Gaven, O’Rourke, Ekpo, Duka; Renteria, Mendoza.
Subs: Gruenebaum, Balchan, Grossman, Gardner, Anor, Cunningham, Heinemann.
Your pregame, in-game and postgame observations are welcome.....