D.C. United play their first game in 10 days Wednesday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are racing the New England Revolution to the bottom of the overall MLS table. Tonight's match begins a four-games-in-10-days stretch that will determine United's playoff destiny one way or another. The first meeting between these two, back on August 13, ended in a 4-0 thumping of the Vancouverites by the Black-and-Red. So, with everything to play for -- and given the relative quality of each team -- tonight's match should be a laugher, right? Think again.
D.C. United (9-10-11) at Vancouver Whitecaps (5-16-10)
When: 10 p.m., Wednesday, October 12
Where: BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Team News and Tactics
D.C. United: Dwayne De Rosario will miss tonight's game after playing 90 minutes Tuesday night in Canada's World Cup qualifying match against Puerto Rico. He should be back for Saturday night's home match against Chicago. With De Rosario's attack-minded play absent from the midfield, the guess here is that Stephen King will join Clyde Simms in central midfield, with either Santino Quaranta or Austin da Luz playing on the left and Andy Najar in his normal spot on the right wing. I'd expect Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff to be paired together up top, since the two veteran strikers have had ten days to rest and recoup.
Brandon McDonald returns from his yellow-card suspension to start at center-back. He'll likely play alongside Ethan White (he's listed as probable with a sprained knee). If White can't go, either Perry Kitchen or Daniel Woolard will partner McDonald, with Marc Burch likely coming into the lineup as extra cover.
Vancouver Whitecaps: Tom Soehn isn't likely to make many changes from the team that defeated Real Salt Lake 3-0 on Thursday. The only real injury question is whether John Thorrington will play his regular midfield position (he's currently listed as probable with a groin strain) or if Pete Vagenas will take his place. Another possible change for Soehn would be to move Jordan Harvey to the bench and shift Camilo Sanvezzo into left midfield to make way for Eric Hassli. Look for Long Tan to start alongside Hassli as the other striker.