Can D.C. finally scratch together some points?
Steven Streff on D.C. United: Um, um, um, um. No one really, but Santino Quaranta looked decent in the second half against Philadelphia. By that point in the match, Quaranta was pushed out wide in his more natural winger position. He still hasn't quite picked up on all the nuances of playing as a box-to-box midfielder, and it is hurting the team. But don't blame that on him. Once he moved out wide against Philadelphia, he looked much more dangerous, and chipped in with a goal -- albeit from a horrible mistake from Michael Orozco.
Isaac Heath on the Chicago Fire: Marco Pappa and Patrick Nyarko were by far the best players for Chicago last week against San Jose. Nyarko has proven to be an extremely difficult task for defenders down the right wing, and Pappa seemed to have his 2010 coming-out party culminated by the spectacular goal he scored. If Pappa and Nyarko can continue this high level of play the Fire should be able to start scoring more goals.
D.C.: Troy Perkins was the man D.C. United bent over backwards to purchase from Philadelphia. And to repay United, Perkins had a stinker against Philadelphia. Although he was not at fault for the second goal, Perkins was part of the blame for the first and third goals. One of the first goal, United's defense was napping on the cross that found an wide open Sebastian Le Toux, but Perkins should have been off his line to easily catch the cross. On the third goal, Perkins set up his wall correctly, but then mind-boggling, stood behind the wall, instead of covering the other side of the goal. Le Toux took advantage of Perkins' positioning. Talking about off target -- Perkins has now conceded nine goals in three matches this year. Ouch.
Chicago: Brian McBride and Collins John do many things well for the Fire. Unfortunately, they have yet to show goal scoring ability in this young season and that has severely hindered the Fire. If Chicago is going to win in D.C. they have to score some goals, and it starts with John and McBride.
D.C.: With so many injuries (OUT: Barklage, Burch, Namoff, Pena, Rice, Simms and Wicks), it's going to be difficult for United to put together a decent starting XI. In addition to the injuries, Dejan Jakovic will miss out after picking up a yard card last week. United's starting backline will probably consist of Carey Talley, Julius James, Devon McTavish, and Rodney Wallace. After a goal last week, look for Jaime Moreno to return to the starting lineup in Curt Onalfo's 4-4-2 formation. It remains to be seen who will partner him, as none of Chris Pontius, Adam Cristman or Danny Allsopp have impressed much this season. Look for midfielder Andy Najar to return after missing out last week with a right ankle sprain.
Chicago: De los Cobos has been attacking and I believe he will continue to do so. Expect to see the majority of the offense go through Pappa and Nyarko via the wings. The best way McBride and John can give their season a jump start is by finishing some easy goals in front of the net off crosses.
D.C.: Does this team have anything left to play for? After an abysmal opening day loss, an improved result in their first home game was expected. Didn't happen. Well, at least going to play at the stadium of your newest rival would get the juices flowing -- especially in front of 1,000 traveling supporters, right? Didn't happen. Can anyone else name an intangible that can see this team finally earn at least a point this season?
Chicago: Even though De los Cobos and several of the Fire squad played down the loss to San Jose, that defeat coupled with the fact that they have yet to win this year, you can bet that everyone is feeling the pressure now. How will they respond?
D.C.: If memory serves correctly, a draw has been predicted three times for D.C. United (yeah, that's me). Chicago has only been slightly better this season than D.C. At the expense of predicting another draw, Chicago has just enough to beat a battered -- physically and mentally -- United team. Look for big things from Marco Pappa as well, who scored a cracker last week, and notched a wonderful goal last year at RFK.
Chicago: The Fire need a win as badly as anyone in the league, but don’t expect them to get it now. 2-2 draw.
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