United-Whitecaps FC Preview

Back-to-back losses have stalled D.C. United’s quest for a

playoff spot.

Rebounding with another strong effort against the Vancouver

Whitecaps can get United back on track, but the expansion Whitecaps

have some unexpected momentum.

D.C. looks to avoid its first three-game slide in more than a

year by completing a season sweep of Vancouver, with United set to

make their first visit to BC Place Stadium on Wednesday night.

D.C. (9-10-11) is five points back of Houston and New York for

the final two playoff spots in MLS. United have four games left,

two more than the Dynamo and Red Bulls and one more than Portland,

which is three points behind Houston and New York for a wild-card

spot.

D.C. hosts the Timbers on Oct. 19.

United capped a 2-1-1 stretch with a 4-1 victory over Salt Lake

on Sept. 24, appearing to signal that they are a serious contender

to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. They

failed to maintain that momentum, though, losing 3-2 at

Philadelphia on Sept. 29 and falling 2-1 at Columbus three days

later.

Now, D.C. is on the brink of its longest skid since dropping

five in a row from July 15-Aug. 14, 2010.

“This is definitely the most important time of our season,”

captain Josh Wolff told the team’s official website. “We know

what’s at stake over these next four games. We have to put

everything together, and that starts on Wednesday in

Vancouver.”

United beat the league-worst Whitecaps (5-16-10) by a 4-0 score

at home Aug. 13.

Dwayne De Rosario had two assists in that meeting, and his

acquisition is a major reason D.C. is in the playoff race. The team

acquired him from New York in July, and he’s tied Charlie Davies

for the team lead with 11 goals while adding seven assists in 15

games since.

De Rosario’s impact has been evident over the past four

contests, as he has scored five of United’s nine goals while

setting up two others. However, the Canadian’s availability is

uncertain after he played the full 90 minutes Tuesday in a

scoreless draw versus Puerto Rico in an early round World Cup

qualifier.

Davies has found the net in one of the last 10 games, doing all

the scoring in a 3-0 win over Chivas USA on Sept. 10.

The Whitecaps would like to damage United’s playoff hopes and

win consecutive games for the first time. They stunned

playoff-bound Salt Lake 3-0 on Thursday, ending an 0-3-1 slide

while handing Real a fourth straight defeat.

Camilo scored twice on penalty kicks Thursday, giving him a

team-high 11 goals.

“For me, it’s good (to lead the team in scoring), but (Eric

Hassli) is the big player on this team,” the 23-year-old Brazilian

forward told the team’s official website. “He supports us younger

players and shows us everything – it’s good for me.”

Hassli, with 10 goals and two assists, will be available after

serving a one-game suspension for an accumulation of yellow

cards.