Scouting D.C. United's Potential 1st-Round Playoff Opponents

With three games left in the regular season, D.C. United currently sits in fifth place in the Eastern Conference ahead of Sunday's game against the Seattle Sounders. The Black-and-Red haven't yet punched their playoff ticket yet, but two results could ensure their qualification this weekend even before they take the field at Audi Field. 

What is more uncertain at this moment is just where United will end up in the playoff race. D.C. can't catch New York City FC at the top, and it is unlikely that they'll chase down the Philadelphia Union or Atlanta United for that matter as well. In seventh place, the New England Revolution sit five points behind United, albeit with a game in hand. However, given the Revs' recent form, it seems unlikely that they'll catch the Black-and-Red.

That means United will likely end up in fourth, fifth, or sixth place in the Eastern Conference this year. They are currently tied with Toronto FC on 45 points with the same exact record, but they sit behind the Reds based on goal differential. The New York Red Bulls currently occupy sixth, just a point behind United, with a game at Red Bull Arena looming next weekend. 

With all that in mind, here's a look at the three likeliest opponents for United when the playoff kick-off, after the October FIFA window.

1. At The Philadelphia Union

Philly currently sit in second place in the East, a point ahead of the Five Stripes. Both teams have four games left this year, but the final schedule might just favor Atlanta to finish in second place. The Union play their next three games on the road, going Sunday-Wednesday-Sunday to the Red Bulls, San Jose Earthquakes, and Columbus Crew. On the final day, they finish up at home against NYCFC, another tough matchup.

All of that is to say right now, Philly might drop into third place in the East and then host a sixth-placed D.C. United squad. That wouldn't be great for the Black-and-Red, who have never faced off against their I-95 opponents in the playoffs. And United have had a torrid time at Talen Energy Field recently, having not won a game in Chester since 2014. In two league contests this year, the Union triumphed twice: a 3-1 win at home and a resounding 5-1 result on Buzzard Point. 

United might have to eventually face the Union anyway, but avoiding a matchup in the first round might help the Black-and-Red secure their first playoff win since 2015.

2. Home Or Away Against Toronto FC

The last three games of the season retain the utmost importance for United, who could host or visit either TFC or RBNY depending on the results of those games. United have never faced off against the Reds in the postseason, but a game between the two would have plenty of storylines — not least of which would be Nick DeLeon getting another crack at United, after scoring as a visitor at Audi Field earlier this season.

Both games this year yielded a draw between the two clubs. First, United grinded out a 0-0 result at BMO, fielding a reserve side on short rest but keeping a clean sheet despite a barrage of shots for 90 minutes. Then, in June, United snatched a late draw as a Wayne Rooney penalty saved United's blushes at home. 

Despite having several top-notch players including Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Pozuelo, the Reds might just make the most favorable matchup for United. What might determine who would move on between the two teams is where the game is being played, which makes the next three games so important for the Black-and-Red.

3. Home Or Away Against The New York Red Bulls

Up until 2014, United had never lost in the playoffs to their longtime rivals. The aforementioned DeLeon scored one of the most memorable goals for D.C. this decade in 2012 when his late second leg winner saw United triumph once against over the Red Bulls. 

Since then, though, United have played RBNY twice in the playoffs, with the Red Bulls advancing in both instances. In 2014, the NYRB won the first game of their playoff series at home 2-0 and then took advantage of an away goal, moving on despite losing the second leg 2-1. The next year, a Dax McCarty header gave the visitors a 1-0 win in the first leg at RFK Stadium, and Bradley Wright-Phillips wrapped up the series in stoppage time of the second leg in another 1-0 decision.

Of course, with the new playoff format this year, there are no more two-leg series. Now it's just a single game, which makes home field advantage even more important. However, that's meant little for United in recent years, as they have won just one of the past 15 games against their rivals. That win came back in May 2016, at RFK Stadium. The Red Bulls have already visited Audi Field three times and have yet to lose, winning two of the three games. 

That said, this might be the game that United supporters would most look forward to. There's plenty of history between the two sides, and another playoff game would add more lore to the story no matter where the game gets played. 

Cornelius Stewart's Goals Send SVG To Cusp Of League A Promotion

Back in September, we picked Gleofilo Vlijter as the standout performer from the first set of Concacaf Nations League games. The Suriname striker scored six goals in two wins, including four goals in a 6-0 triumph over Nicaragua. The 20-year-old added two more goals to his tally in October, taking his competition leading total to eight goals from four games.

Concacaf Nations League Concludes Wild October In Leagues B & C

Exhale.

Canada Shock The USA & Costa Rica Can't Win In League A Action

After not being part of the opening games of the Concacaf Nations League back in September, the four top-seeded teams in League A all played twice over the past week to kick off their tournament. Having watched from the sidelines on the first two matchdays, these seeded teams knew what they would need to put themselves into a good position heading into the final games in November.

FloSports Announces Multiyear Partnership with ECAC

AUSTIN, Texas — October 15, 2019 — Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) announced a partnership in collaboration with Collegiate Sports Management Group to provide live and on-demand coverage of 120 ECAC Championship Games across the FloSports network and potentially many more. Fans can watch the games annually through 2022.

Liga MX Sensation José Juan Macías Gives Mexico Another Attacking Talent

This past April, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) found themselves at a catch-22. 

Concaclusions, Ep. 6: Curaçao Impress Again & Mr. Showtime Strikes Again

The Concacaf Nations League kicked into full gear over the last week with opening acts by Mexico, the U.S., Honduras, and Costa Rica. Everything went according to plan for the big boys in the region, with the lone exception of Costa Rica, who find themselves in a dogfight with Curaçao and Haiti. 

Mexico Rides José Juan Macías In Bermuda Win, Looks To Panama Next

Gerardo Martino used Mexico's first Concacaf Nations League game to experiment with his side and give a couple of inexperienced players a chance at the international stage. Mexico is expected to sweep through Group B in League A and grab one of the semifinal spots of the tournament next year. The player who made the most of his chance was 20-year-old José Juan Macías, who scored two goals in El Tri's 5-1 rout of Bermuda on the road. 

Costa Rica Draw Latest In Unpredictable Results In Nations League

We are almost at the halfway point of the group stage of the first Concacaf Nations League, and surprising results continue to be the story of the tournament. The latest result came last night, when Costa Rica played on the road against Haiti in the Bahamas and walked away with only a point in a 1-1 draw — and they only managed that thanks to Keylor Navas. It wasn't the worst result for Costa Rica, who will still fancy their chances to group Group D in League A and advance to the semifinals of the tournament.

Keylor Navas Rescues Costa Rica vs Haiti In Concacaf Nations League

Even with a new manager at the helm and captain Bryan Ruiz absent, Costa Rica enter Concacaf Nations League play as the prohibitive favorites to take League A, Group D and advance to the next round in 2020.

Mexico & Bermuda Square Off In The Concacaf Nations League

It’s not a party without El Tri.