Greetings from Bridgeview, site of the regular season finale for both D.C. United and the Chicago Fire at sold-out Toyota Park. Both are playoff bound, all that remains to be decided is place and seeding in MLS’s Eastern Conference.
With a victory or draw, United (57 points) would finish second and play the first leg of a conference semifinal next weekend on the road against the No. 3 seed, the New York Red Bulls. With a loss, DCU would finish fourth and host the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium (weather permitting).
The Red Bulls (57 points) brought clarity to the race with a 3-0 victory at Philadelphia this afternoon. (New York would win the first tiebreaker with DCU on superior goals for and claim third place.)
My preview traces United’s playoff push following Dwayne De Rosario’s injury. An image of the front-page display in the print edition is available here.
Of note: Midfielder Lewis Neal is listed as doubtful with a strained calf. This morning the club declined to say whether he traveled with the team. [UPDATE: He is not in the 18.]
Kickoff: Around 4:21 p.m. ET.
TV: NBC Sports Network.
Announcers: Steve Cangialosi and Shep Messing (Red Bulls crew).
Game-time weather outlook: Sunny, 48 degrees, 12-mph wind.
DCU: Hamid; Najar, McDonald, Jakovic, Korb; DeLeon, Kitchen, Saragosa, Boskovic, Pontius; Pajoy. Subs: Willis, Russell, Dudar, King, Augusto, Salihi, Santos.
CHI: Johnson; Anibaba, Friedrich, Berry, Segares; Fernandez, Pause, Pardo, Nyarko; Rolfe, MacDonald. Subs: Tornaghi, Gargan, Paladini, Thompson, Alex, Franco, Oduro.
Your pregame, in-game and postgame thoughts are welcome in our comments section.