At the halfway mark of the season, D.C. United (7-3-7, W-D-L) find themselves in playoff position.
They climbed the Eastern Conference standings to sixth place with a 4-2 win at Columbus on Wednesday, leaving the Crew and their next opponent, CF Montréal, in their wake.
The postseason is far from secure for the Black-and-Red, but their successes in the first half of the season have come despite a number of regulars missing throughout head coach Hernán Losada’s first season in charge.
Goalkeeper Bill Hamid now joins that rotating group of regulars that will miss time after suffering an apparent hamstring injury against Columbus.
Losada and D.C. will look to come up with yet another pivotal result under difficult circumstances when they host CF Montréal on Sunday night.
D.C. UNITED vs. CF MONTRÉAL: HOW TO WATCH
What: D.C. United vs. CF Montréal
Where: Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
When: Sunday, August 8, 2021 8:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: D.C. United vs. CF Montréal will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder).
D.C. UNITED vs. CF MONTRÉAL: TV SCHEDULE
7:30 PM: D.C. United Pregame
8:00 PM: D.C. United vs. CF Montréal (LIVE)
D.C. UNITED vs. CF MONTRÉAL: WHAT TO WATCH
D.C. United’s new high-energy, high-press system—dubbed ‘Losada-ball’ by the media—was on full display in Columbus as the Black-and-Red punished the Crew for mistakes in possession with three first-half goals. They allowed Columbus to claw back two goals in the second, but forward Yordy Reyna sealed the deal for in the end with his second goal of the night. It was a dominant performance and one that should give them confidence heading into a matchup with Móntreal who finished their midweek contest against Atlanta United with nine men. Defender Rudy Camacho and star midfielder Victor Wanyama will be unavailable for Montréal as they serve their red card suspensions.
The loss of Hamid is the latest in a season marred by injury, in addition to absences for international duty, for D.C United. The 30-year-old DeMatha High School alum missed the opening games of the season as he recovered from hernia surgery. He’ll again miss time, though the severity of his apparent hamstring injury has yet to be determined. Chris Seitz replaced the former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year at the start of the season, but Jon Kempin was given the nod after D.C. conceded nine goals in its first 4 matches. Kempin was the one to replace Hamid on Wednesday and is the favorite to start against Montréal come Sunday.
D.C. United fans have praised the entertaining brand of soccer that Losada has brought to the team. On Thursday, the league showed it was paying attention as well, naming the 38-year-old Argentine MLS Coach of the Week. But, while he has received his flowers, he voiced his frustration about none of his players being named to the MLS All-Star Game roster, telling reporters on Wednesday that he believed many of his players were deserving. D.C.’s exclusion from the festivities in Los Angeles can serve as added fuel to the fire they’ve brought to the season.
D.C. UNITED vs. CF MONTRÉAL: PLAYERS TO WATCH
Andy Najar, Defender, D.C. United (3 assists, 15 appearances, 12 starts): Andy Najar has been one of the few fixtures in D.C.’s starting lineup. Not only that, he’s produced night in and night out in both the offensive and defensive halves. He was on the stat sheet with an assist against Columbus, but his leadership and consistency has been his greatest contribution to D.C.’s four-match unbeaten run.
Mason Toye, Forward, CF Montreal (7 goals, 12 appearances, 9 starts): Mason Toye continued his goalscoring tear with a clinical finish that opened the scoring on Wednesday. The 22-year-old has been a force to be reckoned with and D.C.’s defense has only had to reckon with him for 37 minutes. He came on as a second-half sub in their last meeting after Montréal went down to 10 men. Sunday he’ll go head to head with Najar and look to test D.C.’s backup keeper.