Scouting Toronto FC’s Next Opponent: DC United

Toronto FC will try to build on their momentum with a positive result against a high-flying DC United squad.

Toronto FC fought their way to a draw against New England Revolution in a game where they really didn’t deserve a point. It was the first time this season that Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco were paired together again, and they connected on Toronto’s only goal.

It’s a sign that play is starting to pick up again, but there were still some noticeable flaws. Chief among them was that TFC mustered only one shot on target all game. It was a goal, sure, but you can’t expect to get a point when you get outshot 8-1. Toronto had to recover from a very poor first half performance in order to salvage the draw, but when you’re on the road, all points are valuable.

As this road trip keeps moving along, DC United was an opponent that many fans had circled on their calendars. At 0-3-2 and with their star goalkeeper Bill Hamid out for the foreseeable future, this was as good a game as any to win on the road. However, when DC welcomed the Vancouver Whitecaps to their building, they not only won their first game, they wiped the floor to a 4-0 result.

If this match showed anything, it’s that this is what DC are capable of. The obvious players to watch out for are Fabian Espindola and Alvaro Saborio, who both hit braces, but Luciano Acosta as well who bagged two assists on the night. DC’s prized offseason acquisition Lamar Neagle is also someone to keep an eye on. While he hasn’t done much outside of the club’s first game, he is always motivated to put in a big contribution, especially now that their season is back on track.

Bill Hamid is easily one of, if not the, best goalkeepers in the MLS, so when he had to go under the knife, DC predictably went into panic mode. They currently have five goalkeepers on their roster, yet they’ve been able to find stability at that position. After Andrew Dykstra turned in a shocking performance in the season opener against the LA Galaxy, the club put their faith in Travis Worra, who has all of two years of professional experience.

Ever since Worra was promoted to the starter, he has paid dividends. He has gotten two clean sheets and held 1-1 draws in two other matches. The only outlier among that was a 3-0 loss to FC Dallas, but his team let him down and Marcelo Sarvas eventually picked up a red card. There was nothing he could do about it. But in case he ever does falter down the line, the club signed Tally Hall for insurance, although he can’t be happy about going from a starter in Orlando to backing up a sophomore in DC.

The last thing to note about DC is that, while they started out poorly, they had three tough road outings in LA, New England, and San Jose. The Vancouver win is the start of a stretch where they will play four out of five at home in the hopes of turning their season around. If that game was an indication of what they can do with a raucous crowd behind their side, then Toronto FC could be in for a long night.

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