Tuesday, April 03, 2007

DC United looks for historic win in Mexico

DC United vs. Chivas Guadalajara
CONCACAF Champions' Cup Semifinal
Tonight, 9:30pm ET
TV: Fox Soccer Channel, FSE, North Cone

DC United's quest to be the best in CONCACAF faces a difficult test tonight, as they go to Guadalajara, Mexico, needing a win to advance out of the semifinals.

Although it seems much longer, it was just 17-days ago that DC got a late, late equalizer from the newest United hero Luciano Emilio to send the series back to Mexico on even terms. Now United needs to prove that they learned a lot on that wet March night and bring down the goats in front of, what is sure to be, a rowdy and intense crowd.

The good news for DC, Guadalajara will be without forward Omar Bravo due to yellow card accumulation. Also, there is a chance that new signing Brazilian attacker Fred could see action on the night, but coach Tom Soehn is not counting on that.

But were there is good, there is always bad and in that case it has to do with history. No MLS club has every beat a Mexican side on their home pitch.

For United to make Major League Soccer history tonight their midfield will need to control play. In the first match, Guadalajara disrupted their flow and passing throughout much of the game. This prevented DC from using their skills and running abilities to create openings on attack.

Guadalajara is a great club, but they have a habit of missing marks on crosses. If United can open up a lane down the outside and send in a number of decent balls, they will find net. If they try to hack their way through the middle, they are all but doomed.

Then there is the United backline. Too often it seems lost in confusion. Without strong communication, hello Mr. Boswell, Guadalajara will sneak one in.

In the end, I think this will be a really good match. There will be a lot of cautious play, but someone is going to make some magic happen. History points to Guadalajara being the team with the magic, but I have this tendency to respect but laugh at history, so I'm going to pick United. They have the talent and desire and at some point, a MLS team has to win in Mexico. United, this United, is the team to make it happen.

Prediction: DC United 2-1 Chivas Guadalajara

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