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.

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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.

2014 MLS Season Review: DC United

Eastern Conference final position: 1st

Eastern Conference playoffs: Semi-Final

Best Moment

3-0 win against the reigning MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park in August, in which they were 3-0 up at halftime.

Worst Moment

Easily the recent 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls in their Eastern Conference semi-final first-leg. DC failed to score and left themselves with just a little too much to do against their rivals.

Player of the Year

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Bill Hamid – it was tough to decide between him and Fabian Espindola. However, the DC keeper has more than earned this title. Superb all season and he looks set for a bright future with DC and the USMNT.

Biggest Win

DC United 4-1 FC Dallas (April 26 2014)

Biggest Defeat

LA Galaxy 4-1 DC United (August 28 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

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DC United‘s remarkable improvement from the 2013 season saw them cruise into the playoffs and that deserves great credit. They will expect to be challenging at the top of the Eastern Conference once again next season but need to play much the same style. They must follow up a solid season defensively and will look to add a few more goals to their tally. Eddie Johnson must start firing (if he remains in DC) if they are to challenge for the MLS Cup.

Playoff Preview and Prediction: D.C United vs New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls take a 2-0 lead to RFK Memorial Stadium on Saturday night in the second-leg of their Eastern Conference semi-final, and D.C United has it all to do to overturn the deficit.

Firstly, the home side have to make more scoring chances, as they looked like a defensive team in a training session during the second-half of the first-leg last week.

And more importantly they have to tighten up defensively. For both goals on Sunday night they were opened up by the formidable Red Bulls attack, as Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips were given too much time and space on many occasions.

Having enjoyed 53% of the possession, we were hoping there would be more life in United; with Fabian Espindola and Eddie Johnson nullified by the Red Bulls defense.

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D.C being at home in this game may sway the momentum and we may get a classic. However, it’s hard to see D.C shutting out the Red Bulls, and if that’s the case they will need at least four goals to progress. Though with a keeper of Bill Hamid’s quality, D.C always has a chance of keeping a clean sheet, and they did in this fixture twice in the regular season.

D.C’s home record: Played 17 – Won 11 – Drawn 4 – Lost 2

This one could go down to the wire, as both sides have been sublime as of late. But one of them has to exit the competition.

Their long-time rivalry means it could be an aggressive match and that will suit New York more than the hosts, as the Red Bulls know that they need to just remain tight and organised to keep the clock ticking.

New York’s away record: Played 17 – Won 3 – Drawn 7 – Lost 7

The Red Bulls are taking an impressive 1,000 fans to D.C for the away-leg and that support will be key, as we should see a fantastic atmosphere for the game.

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New York lost 1-0 and then 2-0 at D.C earlier in the regular season and the same result as the latter here would force the game to extra-time and potentially penalties, in what should be a drama-filled night regardless.

Key Stat: The first-leg saw D.C fail to score for the first time in an MLS Playoffs match since 2007.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – The Red Bulls look favorites, but if D.C are going to progress, expect the former-Red Bull to be key.

D.C’s last five: D/W/W/D/L

New York’s last five: W/W/L/W/W

Prediction: D.C United 2 – 1 New York Red Bulls. Should be a tight contest, but New York to seal their place in the Eastern Conference final come the end of the game.