Nothing feels good about 7th place.
It is deep into September and that is where D.C. United finds itself after a summer at Audi Field. United has 6 games left (2 in-hand) with 5 of them being at home. There won’t be much more that can be done to give DCU the ability to make its own destiny. Next Saturday brings a key match-up with Montreal coming to town, the 6th place team in the Eastern standings currently guarding the final playoff spot against D.C. With Montreal 5 points up, a win for D.C. is almost make-or-break for the season as an 8-point comeback would be insurmountable.
Fans have been relying heavily on the “Wazza-effect ” as of late. 5 goals, 6 assists with his time here in D.C. and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. However, Wayne Rooney hasn’t been the only one drawing the attention of DC faithful. Luciano Acosta has been on the other end of the majority of Rooney’s assists and has been lights-out in his own respect this season (8goals/13assists). The tandem has created a buzz in SE D.C. and is a new hot-ticket for the DMV area.
Saturday really does set the tone for MLS in the capital city. The average D.C. sports fan might not realize that their most accomplished local team is sitting right in the southeast. 4-time champions, D.C. United looks to rally behind their home-stand and pack the seats for these final matches in October. Riding off the high of winning the Stanley Cup, the club hopes that the sports-crazed fans will transfer that energy over to United games. One thing is for sure, they need to start winning. The first-time fan inside Audi Field is a great experience; but a promise of playoff soccer inside a brand-new stadium, with a brand-new captain, is unthinkable to the fans who filled RFK the past few years.
The past week serves as a rest for United players, with the last MLS match being back on 9/16, a disappointing late-game-draw with rivals New York Red Bulls. The b-squad, primarily made up of players from the USL affiliated Richmond Kickers; played an international friendly against Honduran club CD Olimpia which ended in a 1-1 draw. Montreal, on the other hand, is looking to ride this hot streak after being undefeated in September. This includes a 3-0 wipe of the Red Bulls, 4-1 against Union, and a draw with NYFC; all clubs that are above them on the table.
DCU knows they have to keep winning if they hope to make the playoffs.
“Winning has given them confidence.” head coach Rami Garde (Montreal Gazette)
This all sets the stage for an emotional and physical battle at Audi Field.