It’s the battle of the I-95 rivals— part six. Tonight, we take on the Philadelphia Union at RFK at 7 p.m. In MLS play, the Union has us beat with a record of 2-0, but overall, the record stands at 2-2-1 this year. Additionally, on June 12, we routed the Union 3-1 in the fourth round of Open Cup play, eventually lifting the trophy over our heads in Salt Lake City.
As of late, Philadelphia has lost its steam. Despite a home win over Toronto FC last Saturday, via a Kleberson free kick, the Union boasts a 3-4-2 record in the past two months, including last weekend’s match. Since May 25, Philly has only won two of its last eight matches on the road—good news for us.
With a talented attack in Jack McInerney, Sebastian LeToux, Conor Casey and Antoine Hoppenot, our back line and midfield have a tough task ahead of them. But, McInerney hasn’t been finding the back of the net lately, having only tallied once since June 1.
In the midst of a tough season, we were able to bring home some silverware, but our job isn’t done yet. With three MLS games left, there are 9 points available for the taking. With a proud fan base and organization behind the First Team, we are optimistic. The offensive spark was ignited last Friday at RFK, with quick combinations, threatening distribution and shots on goal from the likes of Jared Jeffrey, Conor Doyle, Luis Silva and Nick DeLeon.
With injuries sidelining John Thorrington and Dejan Jakovic for the remainder of the season, there will be room to play with lineups a bit more, as Head Coach Ben Olsen was planning on “tinkering” anyway.
“We’re going to tinker and show different formations and look at things for next year,” said Olsen in his post-match presser last Friday. “Unfortunately, we have that luxury.”
Fans were impressed with the youthful attack, showing potential for growth and generating excitement for 2014. As this is the second-to-last match in front of our ever-faithful fans, Perry Kitchen understands what the Open Cup win means to DC, but also understands the concept of pride, on behalf of the fans, the squad and the club as a whole.
“Playing for this organization and these fans, we want to make them proud and feed off the Open Cup victory,” said Kitchen. “We don’t want to go out with four losses after a big game.”
Everyone at DCU is on the same page; we have to keep working together to get better.
“I think we’re just trying to grow as a group right now,” said rookie midfielder Collin Martin, “We watched film today…just getting confident for the game in general.”
Purchase your tickets to tonight's match here.
For a full list of all going on at RFK tonight, check out the Matchday Checklist.