The MLS match Wednesday night between host DC United and Minnesota United is a stark contrast in terms of how rested each side is coming into the game at Audi Field.
Minnesota (9-15-2, 29 points) has been since August 25, allowing the team to rest players and hopefully get some back from injuries.
“Some guys needed a rest,” Minnesota coach Adrian Heath said. “It was a really good timed layoff for a lot of different reasons. Most importantly, we’ve got most back and fit.”
Sitting in ninth place and 12 points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot with only eight games left, Minnesota has no margin for error.
DC United (8-11-7, 31 points) on the other hand, played last Saturday — fielding only 15 players because of international commitments and injuries — and came away with a 1-1 result on the road against New York City FC in their third game in a week.
“It’s a great point,” DC coach Ben Olsen said following the game. “We had guys playing out of position, and a lot of players did a little bit extra throughout the game to find a way to get something out of this. I thought it was one of those games where we could have stolen all three points, but in the end, we’ll take a point.”
DC still sits within reach of an Eastern Conference playoff spot, currently holding eighth place, just five points behind sixth-place Montreal. With Wednesday the first of seven consecutive home games and with the team holding at least one game in hand on all other Eastern Conference clubs, DC can make a run.
DC started the year 3-9-5, but since English international star Wayne Rooney joined the team, things have changed for the better. Since July 28, when Rooney scored his first goal for the team, DC United has run off a 5-2-2 mark.