Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz
A derby game, the chippiness of the last game—even if the Union’s playoff of hopes are grounded more in mathematics than in objective reality, motivation to take it to DC United tonight should not be a problem.”If I have to motivate anyone in that locker room tomorrow, something is wrong.” John Hackworth said at Wednesday’s press conference. “This is a rivalry game, it’s a game where we had tension going back-and-forth. We’ve already had three games this year where cards were flying and tackles were flying and emotions were running high.”
Hackworth added. “I guarantee I’m going to use everything I have to throw at them: Playing the last game in this (season) series at home, and we owe it to them. We want to put a little dent in their playoff hopes…Naturally, a home team is going to come out and push and here at home, we want to do the same, and that’s take the game to our opponent.”
Hackworth explained further, “It’s a classic derby game, in that you have two teams in close proximity and there is a lot of animosity between the players and fans. You can feel it and when you get in the game, there’s a charged atmosphere. My personal preference is that we use that energy to produce good soccer but it’s inevitable—neither one of these teams want to lose these games. It’s always going to be a dogfight.”
Danny Cruz, who joined the Union from DC in a little more than a month ago, agrees. “It’s certainly a rivalry game,” said Cruz, who previously played for D.C. United before being traded to the Union for Lionard Pajoy in June. “It’s something we always look forward to and I don’t expect it to be anything but that. It’s going to be a physical game with a lot of emotions running around. It’s good to be at home and have our fans behind us. It’s always important.
That animosity? If you include the US Open Cup match, there have been 11 yellow cards and five red cards over the previous three games.
Hackworth said we might see some lineup changes to give Jack McInerney more support. “I think you’ll see a little bit of a twist tomorrow night. I think you’ll see some guys who’s sole job it will be is to provide Jack with support. Hopefully, that can translate [into a win] for us. We haven’t provided Jack with the support that he needs to be successful and we have to do a better job of that.”
Michael Farfan will be unavailable to lend support because he is serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. Hackworth said, “[W]e have a lot of players right there behind Michael who we would love to see give us the production Michael has given us. So this becomes a fantastic opportunity for those guys. It’s been a good battle the last couple of days to win that spot.”
So, who might we expect? Chris Vito writes at Union Tally that he believes it will not be Freddy Adu or Roger Torres who will be in the support role. “My best guess is you’ll see a lineup that, in any sort of configuration, includes Chandler Hoffman, Antoine Hoppenot and Keon Daniel.” Kerith Gabriel writes, “its very likely that both Freddy Adu and Danny Cruz will lend support on attack pinching in from the flanks while a TBA will sit behind all three controlling the midfield. An early probable lineup suggests midfielder Gabriel Gomez, but it’s a guessing game as to who will fill that role.”
The last time DC United won a road game was when they defeated the Union in June in what was Hackworth’s first game since taking over for Peter Nowak. DC defender Dejan Jakovic said, “[W]e got our asses kicked and ended up stealing a win from them. It’s definitely going to be a big challenge for us.”
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Post match quotes available here.
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