After a crushing loss to Toronto FC over the weekend, DC United are eager to rebound and get back into the playoff race. With now 14 games left in the regular season, DC know they have an uphill battle if they want to be playing in the postseason. Sitting at 8th place in the Eastern Conference, they are 4 points behind the New England Revolution, who hold the 6th and final playoff spot.
A glaring issue recently is their offensive production. With Fabian Espindola gone, a lot of the pressure will be put on newcomers Lloyd Sam and Patrick Mullins to produce goals, a large responsibility for these midseason arrivals. Midfielder Marcelo Sarvas acknowledged the club’s struggles, but noted it was not just the responsibility of forward players, saying “It’s not just up to the front guys to make the play. It’s everyone around the ball, moving, creating spaces… Of course, we know we need to produce more goals. Chances, we are creating. We need to produce more goals. Everybody knows that.”
Of course they will still need to be vigilant on the defensive side as well. After reigning MVP Giovinco tore United apart in Toronto this weekend with 3 goals and an assist, MLS all-stars Ignacio Piatti and Didier Drogba will be eager at the chance to take advantage of the struggling team. The two have combined for 20 goals and 10 assists thus far this year, making for one of the best offensive duos in the league. This home stretch also features MLS champions Portland Timbers and Supporter’s Shield champions New York Red Bulls, who will both be looking to make a final push for favorable playoff seeding.
Though the last few results have been dissappointing for DC United, the players claim they are ready for the challenge to defend their home turf. “We believe we need to pick up all 12 points” said midfielder Nick DeLeon, speaking of their upcoming homestretch. “These are crucial games, and a lot of the guys have a playoff mindset right now, because we put a lot of emphasis on these four games…We have to come off with a playoff mentality”.
Though there is a lot of soccer left to be played this season, these next few games could make or break United’s season. They will need to pick up a string of positive results at some point to be considered a legitimate threat come Autumn.