D.C. United have picked the worst time to go on a four-game losing streak, as chance after chance to climb into the MLS playoff places has gone begging. As a result, the Black-and-Red face a very stark reality tonight against the Portland Timbers at RFK Stadium: Win or be officially eliminated from playoff contention for the fourth straight year. It's that simple.
Portland Timbers (11-14-7) at D.C. United (9-12-11)
When: 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 19 (rescheduled from August 27--postponed due to Hurricane Irene, original tickets still valid)
Where: RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington D.C.
Team News and Tactics
D.C. United: Ben Olsen started Josh Wolff as the lone true striker in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Chicago and did a like-for-like swap by replacing Wolff with Charlie Davies with just 10 minutes to go. United have nothing to lose by going all-out on Wednesday, so I'd look for Wolff and Davies to start up front with Dwayne De Rosario dropping back into a playmaking role in the center of midfield. Along the backline, look for Olsen to keep the same four starters as Saturday, with Brandon McDonald and Daniel Woolard forming the center back partnership as Ethan White continues to recover from a left MCL strain.
Portland Timbers: Portland sit two points ahead of D.C. United in the standings and thus the stakes for their season aren't quite so high tonight. However John Spencer's team has been bitten by the injury bug at a very inopportune time. Darlington Nagbe (right knee injury) and Sal Zizzo (left knee strain) are both listed as out tonight, which means that Jorge Perlaza will likely come into the lineup to replace Nagbe alongside Kenny Cooper, and Rodney Wallace will take the place of Zizzo in midfield.