By CARL SETTERLUND
With D.C. United and the Montreal Impact both headed into to CONCACAF Champions League action Wednesday, there are reasons for each to prioritize getting the full three points.
United will kick off Group 4 action by hosting Jamaican side Waterhouse FC at RFK Stadium in the club’s first CCL action in five years. The pressure is on D.C. to make the most of its home field advantage ahead of road games later on in Jamaica and at Tauro FC of Panama.
Coach Ben Olsen is being mindful of this weekend’s important Eastern Conference clash with Sporting Kansas City, already announcing that backup goalkeeper Joe Willis would start Wednesday’s contest.
Although the rest of the lineup is still up in the air, forward Eddie Johnson, who is currently serving a two-game MLS suspension, seems likely to be included as well.
D.C. United qualified for the CCL by way of its 2013 U.S. Open Cup title.
In other action, Eastern Conference cellar dweller Montreal will play away to CD FAS of El Salvador Wednesday night.
The Impact already beat FAS 1-0 at home two weeks ago in their CCL opener, and getting another three points will be crucial to advance out of a group that includes the New York Red Bulls.
With a playoff spot all but impossible at this point, Montreal may choose the same route D.C. United took last year with the Open Cup and focus on the club’s best chance for a trophy.
The Impact got a confidence boost last weekend, snapping a seven-game MLS losing streak with a 1-0 result over the Chicago Fire, with forward Marco Di Vaio netting the winner.
Who should D.C. United start or rest for tonight’s match? Is it time for Montreal to turn their full attention toward the CONCACAF Champions League?
Share your thoughts below.