Well two teams that need a real boost to their efforts if they want to see postseason action in 2010 will meet tonight in our nation's capital as the "Men in Black" play host to "Rave Green".
Seattle Sounders at DC United - 6:00pm MT - ESPN2
It is funny how the fans and some media types think that DC United has turned the corner and are back on track, REALLY? They are 3-9-3, 12 points from 15 matches, and the worst goal differential in the league at -14, the only team in MLS with fewer points is Philly with 11, but they have played two fewer matches and I am willing to bet they end up with at least 12 points after they finish their 15th match. If that is on track, consider that if they were to go 9-3-3 over the remaining 15 matches, they would end with 42 points and that might not be enough for a playoff spot this year.
If the fans of DC United have anything to be excited about it would likely be the development of Andy Najar, but after quickly getting a couple goals for United, that hype has slowed down a bit but the kid has some real talent and a nose for the ball. Of course some fans are excited for the arrival of DC United's new DP Branko Boskovic, the 30 year old midfielder from Monrovia. Hopefully he can add some punch to the anemic DC goal total, their 11 goals have come from 7 players but nobody has more than 2 goals so far this year.
The other side of the coin is the "woe is me" people in Seattle, who after a great 2009 are willing (at least some of their fans) to write off the MLS season and focus on the US Open Cup. They are in rough shape no doubt with a 4-8-4 record and just 16 points from their 16 matches, but I was impressed by the way they bounced back from their defeat in LA to beat the Galaxy just days later in the US Open Cup. Then last weekend they took a lead against FC Dallas and until a stupid mistake and red card, they easily could have gotten the win they have been looking for since their 3-0 win over New England in early June, but they had to settle for a draw.
It is strange how similar the situations between these two sides is, the Sounders have a new DP that will be available for the first time tonight in Swiss International Blaise Nkufo, add in that they too have a new young player that has many fans excited, Miguel Montaño. He won't be in action as he was the player who got the red card last weekend that likely cost Seattle two valuable points. The Sounders will also be looking for a little revenge tonight as they will try to even the season series that DC United started with a 3-2 win in Seattle.
Both sides are dealing with a long list of injuries that will impact the match, for DC United they list their injuries as: OUT: MF Brandon Barklage (L ACL tear); DF Marc Burch (R foot surgery); FW Luciano Emilio (concussion); DF Bryan Namoff (post-concussion symptoms); DF Juan Manuel Pena (R quad strain); GK Andrew Quinn (R meniscus tear); DF Rodney Wallace (L fibula fracture); PROBABLE: DF Carey Talley (concussion).
The list for Seattle is equally long: OUT: MF David Estrada (toe/R hamstring strain); MF Brad Evans (R knee meniscus); FW Michael Fucito (R knee contusion); DF Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (L ACL); QUESTIONABLE: MF Freddie Ljungberg (L ankle sprain); MF Michael Seamon (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Osvaldo Alonso (R quadriceps strain).
I look for this to be an entertaining matchup, as the goals tend to come quick and often when these sides meet. I am going to pick a Sounders win to even the season series, not a 3-2 goal fest but a 2-1 win for the boys in Rave Green.
OFF MY SOAPBOX