Much has been said about DC United’s turnaround this season. Near the bottom of the Eastern Conference in summer, a confluence of good fortune helped turn this struggling club around. The opening of Audi Field, combined with the arrival of Wayne Rooney and the subsequent discovery that he still has a bit of gas in the tank, created a positive feedback loop that did a world of good for DC on and off the pitch.
This wasn’t a guaranteed thing, mind you. There was plenty of reason to believe the team had created more problems than it solved, particularly with the move to Audi Field. And in the midst of what should’ve been a celebratory time, protests from some of DC’s dedicated supporters groups created a tamer atmosphere than what might have otherwise developed. The team and various supporters groups had been involved in a protracted conflict, the sort that would feel very familiar to Fire fans.
But a funny thing happened: they worked it out. They came to some kind of equitable agreement and the supporters groups took root at Audi Field. Just in time for Wayne Rooney to pull them up by their britches from the basement of the Eastern Conference.
They head into Sunday, the last game of the regular season, having clinched a postseason berth and fighting for home field advantage in Round 1 of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
It’s hard to look at DC United now and wonder what could’ve been. What if we had a stadium that wasn’t decrepit and hard to access. What if we had real talent in the squad and a manager who know how to get the best out of them. What if we had Front Office executives who got it.
There’s so much we could have right now. If only. If only.
Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs DC United: 20W-15D-23L, 86 GF / 89 GA, 75 pts out of 174
Chicago Fire home MLS record vs DC United: 11W-10D-7L, 46 GF / 33 GA, 40 pts out of 84
Cleveland; Vincent, Schweinsteiger, Kappelhof, Hasler; Bronico, McCarty; Katai, De Leeuw, Edwards; Nikolic
Probably the strongest lineup we can put together. It’s the last game of the season, might as well go for it.
(That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Sparky up top.)
Keys To The Match
Score First: I mean, obviously.
That’s The Chicago Way: There’s no polite way to say this. DCU’s attack is dangerous. Rooney and Acosta do disgusting things in tandem on the pitch. The Fire have to find a way to stop this. And in all honesty, it might mean some dirty pool. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Someone gets a red card? It’s the last game of the season. So someone starts their Christmas vacation a little early.
Nothing Left To Lose: There’s really nothing at stake here. I think it’s incumbent on the players to try not to embarrass themselves, but it’s possible the squad has already checked out. So, I don’t know. Best of luck out there, I guess.
How To Watch
Can the Fire finish this dismal season with a result? Let us know in the comments below!