This Saturday at 7, the Union travel to the crumbling concrete halls of RFK for their final meeting of the season with DC United.
The Union sit fourth in the table and are coming off a 2-1 loss to RSL at home. DC is eighth after drawing Montreal at home. For the Union, a win would stop a four-game winless streak in which they’ve only taken two points and help solidify their playoff position. For DC, a win would put them near the playoff red line and could kick start a run to playoff qualification.
The two teams have met twice this year, both times in Chester and both Union victories. On May 20th, Richie Marquez scored on a late sliding finish to give the Union the 1-0 victory. Less than a month ago on July 9th, the Union rode two first-half penalties by Roland Alberg and Ilsinho and a quick second-half goal by Ilsinho from a CJ Sapong assist to an easy 3-0 victory. The Union have not won since.
This is not the same team that has gone winless in the last month, however. Alejandro Bedoya and Charlie Davies have been acquired and Sebastien Le Toux traded away; at least Davies is expected to be available for selection by manager Jim Curtin on Saturday, if not Bedoya as well. Davies gives the Union a bonafide second striker and will be a great teacher for the young and promising Fabian Herbers. Bedoya gives the Union a massive upgrade at the number 8 and lets Curtin play either Tranquillo Barnetta or Alberg at their more natural 10 spot. With Mo Edu classifying his return as “sooner than later”, we may finally see a full strength Union lineup just in time for the playoff push.
In Curtin’s press conference on Wednesday, we learned Andre Blake picked up a minor groin injury but should be able to go. Losing Blake for any period of time would be devastating and is perhaps the one injury other than another CJ Sapong injury the Union could ill afford. Meanwhile, Fabinho is out due to yellow card accumulation.
Possible first XI: Blake; Gaddis, Marquez, Yaro, Rosenberry; Carroll, Barnetta; Pontius, Alberg, Ilsinho; Sapong
Prediction: This DC team is bad, but the Union have been bad lately. The boys in blue scratch out a point but leave disappointed. DC United 1, Union 1.