MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Toronto FC

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, April 16 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: DC United 11/8 – Draw 11/5 – Toronto FC 21/10

Match Preview

DC United host Toronto FC in a game between two struggling Eastern Conference sides that will be looking to climb the table with a view to challenging at the top end of proceedings this season.

Despite the lack of points they both have so far this term, there will be expectation that both will mount serious challenges for playoff spots at the very least and so this contest is an important one.

DC will feel more confident going into the game after a 4-0 win at home against Vancouver Whitecaps last time out, which was actually their first win of the season.

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Remarkably, DC were the best team in the Eastern Conference two years ago and now they are struggling to win a game. However, much of their ill-form will be down to the loss of star ‘keeper Bill Hamid, who has been ever-present while they have been successful in recent years. His long-term injury is doing little to help their chances.

So far, it’s too early to man the panic stations for United as they are only three points off top spot in the East. As long as they are in touch, they will not be too concerned and another win on Saturday would really give them a boost.

Toronto FC haven’t won since the opening day and for them, it could well be time to hit the panic button. They are yet to spark a run of form worthy of the squad strength they possess as some will argue on paper they should be Supporters’ Shield contenders.

Results will need to pick up soon as they will potentially lose all three Designated Players in the Summer through international duty as Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are expected to join the USMNT and Sebastian Giovinco could well go to Euro 2016 with Italy.

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Their defensive additions may have looked promising in the opening day win over New York Red Bulls but they have failed to keep a clean sheet since then. Worrying times for the Canadian side who will be looking forward to returning to home following this eight-game road swing to start 2016.

These two sides met twice last year, with Toronto the overall winners. The Reds won 2-1 at RFK Stadium before the teams played out a 0-0 draw at BMO Field just a few weeks later.

Team News

DC United are missing Bill Hamid (knee), Andrew Dykstra (back), Chris Korb (knee) and Collin Martin (foot) as all four are out. Charlie Horton is a doubt with concussion and Markus Halsti may not feature due to a knee sprain.

Clement Simonin is definitely out with a knee injury. Tsubasa Endoh is a doubt with a quad injury. Jozy ALtidore is expected to make his second start with Sebastian Giovinco playing just behind him in what could be a 4-4-1-1 formation for Toronto.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: D/D/L/D/W

Toronto FC’s last five: W/D/L/L/D

Key Stat: DC United are the league leaders in shots per game at home this season. They are averaging 19.7 shots per game at RFK Stadium.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – The DC frontman started only his third game of the season last weekend and inspired a brilliant 4-0 win with a brace against the Vancouver Whitecaps. His return to form provides DC with a far better platform to attack and he will be out to hurt the Toronto defence on Saturday.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-1 Toronto FC – Both sides are seeking their second win of the season and both will have playoff aspirations this term. Saying that, they both – based on form – could equal each other out on Saturday evening. A draw seems most likely but home advantage may play a huge role in this one as Toronto’s long road stint continues.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. FC Dallas

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, March 26 – 21:30 GMT (17:30 ET)

Match Odds: DC United 13/8 – Draw  23/10 – FC Dallas 17/10

Match Preview

DC United welcome FC Dallas to RFK Stadium on Saturday in a weekend with minimal MLS action due to the international games taking place across the globe.

DC’s struggles up top are ongoing and they have only scored twice in their three outings so far this season. Ben Olsen is going to need to ensure his side are as tight as possible at the back to make sure the goals they are scoring are having an impact in their fixtures.

The Black and Red are yet to win this season and come into this tie off the back of their draw against Colorado last time out.

The boost for DC will be that they have won the last two meetings between these sides at RFK 4-1, so they’ll be hoping history repeats itself once again to give them their much needed first win of the 2016 regular season.

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FC Dallas are sitting 4th in the Western Conference after their solid start to the season. They have won two of their three ties so far but there is still room for improvement.

Oscar Pareja will be delighted with how his side bounced back from their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Houston Dynamo two weeks ago, after his side won 2-0 over Montreal Impact last time out.

Dallas havent won at RFK since 2010 and will be hoping to capitalise on DC’s slow start to the new campaign this weekend.

The international break has left the Dallas side depleted heading into this tie so it will be real a test of Pareja’s squad depth.

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Team News

DC United have four injury concerns as Bill Hamid, Andrew Dykstra, Chris Korb and Markus Halsti are all expected to miss out. Alvaro Saborio and Steve Birnbaum have both been called up for international duty.

FC Dallas have two injury concerns heading into this tie. Alex Zendejas it out, while Coy Craft is a doubt. Tesho Akindele, Moises Hernandez, Maynor Figueroa, Jesse Gonzalez, Atiba Harris, Kellyn Acosta and Walker Zimmerman are all on international duty.

Key Points

DC United’s form: L/D/D

FC Dallas’ form: W/L/W

Key Stat: Leaky – FC Dallas have conceded at least two goals in their last three away Major League Soccer outings.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – The DC forward netted his sides late equaliser last weekend.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-1 FC Dallas – These two are tough to split for different reasons this weekend. DC United have had a difficult start to the 2016 season and Dallas have a lightweight squad due to the amount of players who have been called up for international duty. Both sides will be happy with a tie in this one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Real Salt Lake

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, August 1 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: DC United 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – Real Salt Lake 14/5 

Match Preview

Saturday night sees Real Salt Lake travel to DC United’s RFK Stadium in search of their first away win since May 9 in MLS.

DC United come into the game off the back of a 3-2 victory over Philadelphia last time out which ended a two-game losing streak, and they will want to build on their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference here.

DC United currently sit at the top of the East and are level with FC Dallas on 38 points in the Supporters’ Shield standings despite their dip in form in recent weeks. All three defeats in their last five have come away from home but their home form has been excellent and they are rightly favourites for Saturday’s clash.

DC United’s 2015 record in MLS: P23 – W11 – D5 – L7 

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Real Salt Lake come into this game in great form after recording back-to-back home victories and they have only lost once in their last five. However their form on the road has been nothing short of disappointing. 

Real Salt Lake have only won two games away from home all season, only scoring six road goals in the process. As well as the poor away form and lack of goals scored away from home they have also managed to leak 16 goals on their travels and that is a major concern for Jeff Cassar.

Real Salt Lake’s 2015 record in MLS: P22 – W7 – D8 – L7 

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DC United have only lost one game at home all season, claiming 27 of their 38 points at RFK Stadium and have scored 21 goals at home, showing how prolific they can be in front of goal when the home crowd is behind them.

One man who will look to get on the scoresheet is new striker Alvaro Saborio. The Costa Rican frontman recently joined from Real Salt Lake and the RSL record goalscorer could haunt his former employers in this one.

Team News

DC United are missing as many as five key men out injured. Bill Hamid, Michael Farfan, Collin Martin, Sean Franklin and Chris Pontius are all missing.

Real Salt Lake are without Jamison Olave through injury. RSL have a few doubts including Jordan Allen, Luis Silva, Chris Schuler and Demar Phillips.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Real Salt Lake’s last five: D/D/L/W/W

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have lost their last five matches away from home in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – Argentine playmaker Espindola is an extremely gifted player and it will be difficult for Real Salt Lake to contain his creativity come Saturday night.

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Score Prediction

DC United 3-0 Real Salt Lake – Due to DC United’s attacking dominance that they have shown at home over the duration of the season and the lack of attacking dominance shown by Real Salt Lake on the road, this game can only go one way and that’s a convincing win from DC United. Their form at home has been great and it’s tough to see that changing this weekend against Real Salt Lake.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Philadelphia Union 

Venue: RFK Stadium – Sunday, July 26 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 5) 

Match Odds: DC United 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Philadelphia Union 12/5

Match Preview

Eastern Conference leaders DC United play host to Philadelphia Union on Sunday night as DC look to return to winning ways after a run of two straight defeats.

DC United come into this game five points clear of Columbus Crew at the top of the Eastern Conference. However, their recent form hasn’t been great due to the absence of Bill Hamid. The shot-stopper has been a huge loss and his absence significantly weakens DC’s backline.

DC United’s 2015 record in MLS: P22 – W10 – D5 – L7

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Philadelphia come into this game without a win away from home all season, losing five of their last six on the road.

The Union need inspiration in the final third and with Fernando Aristeguieta a doubt for the game, they are extremely weak in the attacking department. CJ Sapong has delivered the goods on several occasions this term, with six goals in MLS, but hasn’t scored in Philly’s last three games.

Philadelphia Union’s 2015 record in MLS: P21 – W6 – D4 – L11

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This will be the third and final regular season meeting between the two this year. Philadelphia won 1-0 at PPL Park in May, before DC won 2-1 at RFK two weeks later, so it’s evenly poised heading into Sunday’s clash.

Both sides will be seeking a win as both will see weaknesses in the other, and with three very valuable points up for grabs, this should be an entertaining affair.

Team News

DC United will be without Bill Hamid as the USMNT keeper’ is recovering from hand and knee surgery. Michael Farfan, Collin Martin, Sean Franklin and Chris Pontius are all doubts. Michael Seaton is away on international duty.

Philadelphia Union’s Michael Lahoud has been deemed questionable. Fernando Aristeguieta, Eric Bird, Andrew Wenger and Richie Marquez are all doubts. Andre Blake is away on international duty.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: W/W/D/L/L

Philadelphia Union’s last five: L/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: DC have lost only once in their last 19 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – The Argentinian striker is the standout talent in this tie, and with 5 assists in nine games, he will be the main provider for the DC attack.

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Score Prediction

DC United 2-0 Philadelphia Union – Tough to see past DC winning at RFK in this one, even without the reliable Bill Hamid between the sticks. They should prove too strong for the Union and add three more points to their tally.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Sporting Kansas City

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, May 9th 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: DC United 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – Sporting KC 15/8

Match Preview

DC United host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night in what is expected to be a tight affair at RFK Stadium.

DC come into the clash unbeaten in their last six in MLS and have to be considered strong favourites to extend that streak to seven in front of their own fans.

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It has been a very strong to 2015 for DC as they haven’t been in a losing position at home all season, a stat unlikely to change on Saturday night.

DC United’s 2015 MLS record: P8 – W5 – D2 – L1

Sporting Kansas City have endured a stuttering start to 2015 and will hope to find a run of form soon as they look to push for a playoff spot in the Western Conference this term.

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With only one win in their last four this is a team that is lacking consistency, and with only one victory away from home, they are outsiders to even pick up a point here.

Sporting KC’s 2015 MLS record: P9 – W3 – D4 – L2

Especially when you consider they failed to score against DC on three occasions last term, with United winning two of those clashes.

Team News

DC United will be without Eddie Johnson, Markus Halsti, Steve Birnbaum and Collin Martin again as they will all sit out of this one. Andrew Dykstra is a doubt but Bill Hamid is expected to start in goal again anyway.

Sporting Kansas City have two major worries as Ike Opara and Chance Myers are both long-term absentees. Marcel De Jong is a doubt as it looks like SKC could field an unchanged team from the 1-0 win against Chicago Fire last week.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: W/D/D/W/W

Sporting KC’s last five: W/D/L/D/W

Key Stat: Sporting KC last won away at DC in March 2012 and have only won one of the last five meetings.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – DC United’s star man has returned from suspension with a bang, with a goal and an assist in his past two, and will look for another impressive display in front of his own fans in this one.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-0 Sporting Kansas City – DC United to extend their unbeaten run to seven with another home victory in what looks set to be a low-scoring affair. Sporting Kansas City have struggled to find consistency and will struggle to break down a resilient DC side that look to be flying.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, May 2nd – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: DC United 6/4 – Draw 12/5 – Columbus 7/5

Match Preview

DC United host Columbus Crew in a key Eastern Conference clash on Saturday night with two of the best form sides in MLS going head-to-head.

DC extended their unbeaten run to five in last week’s impressive 2-1 comeback win against the Vancouver Whitecaps and are now just two points behind the Canadian side in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, with two games in hand.

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Ben Olsen’s men have looked strong this season and with Fabian Espindola returning to the side from suspension last weekend, they are in a position to push on further, with a win against Columbus the aim this Saturday.

The Crew have an unbeaten run going themselves, having not lost in four, and recorded their second consecutive win last week in that 4-1 thumping of the Philadelphia Union.

The Black and Yellow have scored more goals than any side in MLS after eight weeks and travel to DC in fine spirits.

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Columbus have taken points from DC United in their last three trips to RFK Stadium, winning two and drawing one, and will hope to continue that trend this week.

DC have not beaten Columbus in their last five meetings and so this one is perfectly poised in what should be a great contest.

Team News

DC United will be without Markus Halsti, Eddie Johnson, Steve Birnbaum and Collin Martin, while a goalkeeping crisis sees Bill Hamid and Andrew Dykstra both doubtful. Travis Worra came on for Dykstra last week and could get his first first ever start in this one. Fabian Espindola will partner Chris Rolfe in attack again.

Columbus Crew have just two concerns going into the game as Sergio Campbell and Wil Trapp are both doubtful. Tony Tchani and Mohammed Saeid are likely to continue their midfield partnership in the absence of Trapp, while Kei Kamara will hope to continue his fine form in front of goal as the lone striker.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: W/W/D/D/W

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/D/W/W

Key Stat: DC United are unbeaten in their last 12 home games in MLS, but will need to snap a run of five games without a win against the Crew to seal all three points.

Key Player: Ethan Finlay – The Crew winger scored his first brace in MLS last weekend in that win over Philadelphia. He now has two goals and four assists this season and is looking in fine form.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-1 Columbus Crew – These two are in such good form that it’s too difficult to separate them. A draw would probably suit both and that is the most likely outcome, though expect both sides to score as some fine attacking talents will be on display.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, April 18th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: DC United 19/20 – Draw 23/10 – Houston Dynamo 3/1

Match Preview

DC United will host Owen Coyle’s Houston Dynamo on Saturday night with the opportunity to solidify their place at the top of the Eastern Conference.

United remain unbeaten at home in 2015 and are now unbeaten in their last eleven home matches in MLS, so form is against Houston for this clash.

DC have yet to deliver a performance that justifies their league position, yet they remain a force in MLS despite putting in some below-par performances.

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Though you have to assume that the performances will improve once star striker Fabian Espindola returns from suspension at the end of April.

DC United’s 2015 MLS record: P5 – W3 – D1 – L1

Houston have stuttered into the new season with an opening day victory and then a winless run of four. That run ended last time out as they beat Montreal Impact 3-0 and they will be hoping to build on that result on the road in this one.

With Houston yet to win away from home in 2015, it’s tough to see past a home win here, though you can never rule anything out.

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An away win for Houston would be a shock but MLS is known for its unpredictability as we saw with the Rapids beating Dallas away last week.

Houston Dynamo’s 2015 MLS record: P6 – W2 – D2 – L2

The Dynamo can look to improve in the next few weeks knowing that new signing, Erick Torres, will be arriving soon. Until then Will Bruin and Giles Barnes will need to continue to lead the attack, with Barnes already on two goals this season.

Team News

DC United: Eddie Johnson, Markus Halsti, Steve Birnbaum and Collin Martin all remain out. Fabian Espindola is serving the last of his six-game ban and Nick DeLeon is a doubt so Michael Farfan could deputise.

Houston Dynamo: Raul Rodriguez and Oscar Boniek Garcia are both expected to shake off minor injuries to start the game, while Giles Barnes should continue up front for the Dynamo.

Key Points

DC United’s last five in MLS: W/L/W/W/D

Houston Dynamo’s last five in MLS: L/D/D/L/W

Key Stat: DC United have only conceded four goals this season, all while playing the New York Red Bulls, and will look to record a fourth clean sheet against the Dynamo on Saturday.

Key Player: Chris Pontius – The front man is key to the DC attack as they look to hurt teams on the counter, and stealing three points is a specialty of DC’s. Pontius will look to link up with Arrieta to prove the difference in this one.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-0 Houston Dynamo – DC to edge another one at home by the one goal as Houston’s troubles away from home look set to continue.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs Montreal Impact

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, March 7th – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT)

Match Odds: DC United 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Montreal Impact 3/1

Match Preview

DC United host Montreal Impact on Saturday in the opening weekend of the new Major League Soccer season in a matchup that pits the top and bottom teams from the Eastern Conference in 2014 against each other.

Both sides have been active in recent weeks, both playing competitively in the CONCACAF Champions League and should come into the game raring to go.

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DCU will be without their talisman, Fabian Espindola for the clash as he is serving a six-game suspension in MLS. So the 2014 Eastern Conference winners will need to find goals from elsewhere.

DC United’s MLS home record in 2014: P17 – W11 – D4 – L2

Montreal come into the opening weekend in the better form out of the two after successfully moving past Pachuca into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals on Tuesday night.

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Statistically the worst team in MLS last term, the Impact will need to display great signs of improvement if they are to turn the tide in the league.

Montreal Impact’s MLS away record in 2014: P17 – W0 – D5 – L12

DC United are far from their strongest going into the new season and anything can happen on the opening day, so Montreal will be in good spirits in what should be an entertaining affair.

Team News

DC United: Fabian Espindola (suspended), Markus Halsti (leg), Luis Silva (soft tissue damage), Eddie Johnson (heart condition) and Michael Seaton (knee) are all out.

Montreal Impact: Andres Romero misses the clash with a thigh injury.

Key Points

DC United’s form: N/A

Montreal Impact’s form: N/A

Key Stat: Montreal failed to win a single game away from home in the 2014 MLS season.

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Key Player: Bill Hamid – The MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for 2014 was a huge part of why DC was so successful last campaign. Expect him to prove the difference once again at the weekend.

Score Prediction

DC United 2-0 Montreal Impact – Can’t see any surprises here despite Montreal’s Champions League success in the week. DC should be winning this comfortably in front of their own fans.

CCL Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Alajuelense

Competition: CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal Second-Leg – DC United vs Alajuelense

Venue: RFK Stadium – Wednesday, March 4 – 20:00 ET (01:00AM GMT Thursday 5)

Match Odds: DC United: 17/20 – Draw: 5/2 – Alajuelense: 14/5

Match Preview

DC United face Alajuelense in the second-leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday night and need to produce something special to overturn the 5-2 defeat in the first-leg last Thursday.

The trip to Costa Rica last week was one DC United will not want to remember as they were thrashed by a relentless Alajuelense who capitalised on numerous defensive mistakes by DCU, with goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra directly at fault for two of the goals in a poor display.

Highlights from last week’s first-leg (via CONCACAF on YouTube):

Regular first-choice shot-stopper Bill Hamid didn’t even make the bench last week as he is thought to still be struggling with a shoulder injury but could return for Wednesday night’s game.

Alajuelense know that they are firmly in the driving seat and despite being the lowest seeded team in the Champions League going into the game last week, the Costa Rican club will now have one eye on the semifinals.

DC United vs Alajuelense

DC United did not justify their number one seed in last week’s game but will expect to turn things around in front of their own fans. The Black and Red need to win by at least three goals to progress, while a clean-sheet would really help their cause.

They did net two away goals but the three-goal deficit means DC need to attack from the word go on Wednesday, and that could suit Alajuelense a lot more as they will look to counter-attack.

The Costa Rican side did not have a league game at the weekend and will come into the second-leg full of energy.

Key Points

DC United’s last five in the Champions League: W/W/W/W/L

Alajuelense’s last five in the Champions League: D/W/D/D/W

Key Stat: DC United have not conceded a goal in this season’s CONCACAF Champions League at home and will hope that trend continues if they are to advance. Alajuelense have not won away from home in the competition this season.

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Key Player: Fabian Espindola – He may be suspended for the start of the 2015 MLS regular season but Espindola can participate in the Champions League and he scored in last week’s tie. He will need to lead the line perfectly if DC United are to progress.

Score Prediction

DC United 2-1 Alajuelense – DC United should win the game but reaching the semifinals of the competition after last week’s heavy defeat will be too great a challenge.

CCL Preview and Prediction: Alajuelense vs DC United

Competition: CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal First-Leg

Venue: Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto – Thursday, February 26th – 20:00 ET (01:00 Friday, 27th GMT)

Match Odds: Alajuelense 21/20 – Draw 9/4 – DC United 11/5

DC United are in Costa Rica to take on Alajuelense in the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday night in the first-leg of their quarterfinal clash.

DC will have watched the Montreal Impact (the only other remaining MLS side in the competition) earn a valuable draw in Mexico against Pachuca on Tuesday night and will be hoping for a similar result at what will be a hostile environment in Alajuela.

The Black and Red were highly impressive in the group stages as they won all four games, conceding just one, and go into the tie as the number one seed in the Champions League. That means the 2014 Eastern Conference winners have been rewarded with a home tie for the second-leg.

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Alajuelense may be the lowest seeded side left in the tournament but they will fancy their chances and they have the advantage of having already played ten games in their domestic league this season.

They sit second in the Costa Rican Primera table after ten games but come into the game in poor form, having not won a game in three. They have lost two on the bounce in front of their own fans, including a 2-0 defeat to league leaders Saprissa on Sunday.

DC United may not have started the 2015 MLS season but have a 2-2-2 record through preseason and will hope that they do not show any signs of rustiness in Thursday’s key game.

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Remaining in the tie ahead of the return leg is crucial and DC are boosted by the fact that Alajuelense starting goalkeeper, Patrick Pemberton and defender Kevin Sancho are both suspended for the tie.

Fabian Espindola may be suspended for the start of the MLS regular season but he can play in the CONCACAF Champions League and will look to be the star man as DC United start their 2015 competitive schedule with a tricky fixture in Costa Rica before next Wednesday’s return leg.

Alajuelense’s form in the CCL: D/W/D/D

DC United’s form in the CCL: W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Keeping it tight – Alajuelense scored just one goal in all four of their group stage games but remained unbeaten.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – Knowing that he’ll be watching on from the sidelines for the start of the regular season, Espindola will want to make an impact here. He has already scored two goals in this year’s CCL.

Score Prediction: Alajuelense 1-1 DC United – This is likely to be a tight, close-fought game as both sides will want to remain in the fixture for the return leg. Alajuelense know the ownness is on them to attack but DC should be in good shape to earn an important draw.