The stakes for tonight's match between D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union are simple and clear. With a win, D.C. United would take over the third and final automatic playoff spot in MLS' Eastern Conference. With a loss, the Black-and-Red would remain stuck outside the wild-card places and watch the Union take over second place in the East. With only five matches left in the regular season, and a road match against fellow playoff contenders Columbus on Sunday, a loss is the last thing the club's playoff push needs.
D.C. United (9-8-11) at Philadelphia Union (9-7-13)
When: 8 p.m., Thursday, September 29.
Where: PPL Park, Chester, Pa.
Team News and Tactics
D.C. United: Don't expect many changes from the team that started Saturday's 4-1 demolition of Real Salt Lake. There is a possibility that Santino Quaranta will come back into the midfield in place of Austin da Luz. Charlie Davies
might wont' replace Josh Wolff as the striker up top, as Steven Goff of The Washington Post has reported that Davies is suffering from a stomach bug. Also, Dejan Jakovic (hamstring) might be back on the bench tonight as potential cover for United's central defense.
Philadelphia Union: Peter Nowak could make as many as four changes from the starting lineup that drew 1-1 with Sporting Kansas City last Friday night. Freddy Adu (right ankle sprain), Justin Mapp (left quad strain), Danny Mwanga (right hip flexor strain) and Sheanon Williams (concussion) should all at least make the bench and I expect Mwanga, Adu, and Williams to start. Zac MacMath will start in goal for the fifth straight match thanks to injuries to Faryd Mondragon (broken finger) and Thorne Holder (concussion).