Monday, October 22, 2007

2007 MLS Playoffs First Round - Leg 1 vs. Chicago Fire

United finishes out the season at home with the most exciting 0-0 draw I have ever seen against Chicago and a 3-2 loss against Columbus that showcased some very creative attacking from United. Now it is on to the playoffs where DC faces everyone's favorite knockout competition rival, Chicago Fire.

Does the past dictate the future? Do current trends remain constant?

I'm not a big believer in the past dictating the future especially if the participants change. Both DC United and Chicago Fire have new coaches and a mix of new and old players. The past also paints an ugly pictures so let's look at current trends:

September and October MLS records

Chicago Fire (L,W,T,T,T,T,W,T,W) 3-1-5
Goal Differential: +2 (GF 9, GA 7)

DC United (W,T,W,W,T,W,T,T,L) 4-1-4
Goal Differential +9 (GF 20, GA 11)

October MLS records

Chicago Fire (W,T,W) 2-0-1
Goal Differential: +2 (GF 3, GA 1)

DC United (T,T,L) 0-1-2
Goal Differential -1 (GF 3, GA 4)

DCU record head-to-head with Chicago during the MLS regular season 1-0-2

A few notes on these trends. Chicago was fighting for a playoff spot throughout all of these games and therefore was playing with more urgency than usual. DC United was playing to win the Supporter's Shield throughout all but one of these games (which is the only loss) so they were also playing with more urgency, but probably less survival instinct than Chicago. Concerning the head-to-head statistics, we can probably throw out the one win as Chicago was a different team in June.

Now, what does all of this mean? Chicago has been consistent over the last two months including the last 3 games but not overly impressive and DC has been impressive in the last two months but is now in a slight decline. We can be reassured that the decline is not much of a trend as it has been only 3 games and the last game was meaningless as far as winning trophies goes.

Hope and Dreams for the first leg of the first round of the playoffs

1. The injuries heal quickly, wolverine style.
2. Simms shuts down Blanco again.
3. Burch practices his amazing service without a wind up.
4. We get goals in Toyota Park. I don't care who or how, we need away goals to get some momentum going into the rest of the playoffs.

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