DC United vs. Queretaro FC | CONCACAF Champions League Match Preview
March 1, 8pm ET (FS1, Sportsnet World)
D.C. United vs. Queretaro FC
RFK Stadium, Washington DC, USA
2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, second leg
D.C. United were only about 20 minutes away from as good a start to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals as they could’ve hoped for. But after failing to hold on against Queretaro at Estadio La Corregidora, now they are forced to enter the second leg down 2-0.
D.C. drew perhaps the most favorable matchup of the MLS teams in the quarterfinal stage, but the task ahead is a difficult one. DCU’s most viable path to advance is holding Queretaro scoreless and scoring at least two goals to try to force penalty kicks. For any away Queretaro goals, D.C.’s chances to overcome will drop precipitously.
It could be argued that DCU’s preseason form was in large part to blame for the first-leg loss. It was DCU’s first match of 2016 and the preseason, and Luciano Acosta, one of the Black-and-Red’s key offseason signings, had just two weeks to adjust to his new team. He provided a good spark but did not look fully integrated yet. Head coach Ben Olsen has said he will be looking for his veteran players to help his side get a result at home.
For DCU, losing out on 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Bill Hamid to injury has been perhaps the most pressing concern. Andrew Dykstra has been asked to slot in, and both he and Queretaro goalkeeper Tiago Volpi were busy in Leg 1. D.C. United out-shot Los Gallos Blancos 17-6, also with the edge in shots on goal, 9-8.
There are also some lingering questions for Los Gallos Blancos in the center of the pitch as the team has struggled to find its rhythm in Liga MX. In the first two games of the Clausura, they started with defensive midfield duo Luis Noriega and Mario Osuna. Three weeks later, Noriega and former RSL midfielder Luis Gil was the tandem. For week five, it was changed to Noriega and Nery Dominguez. The games that followed against Tigres and D.C. United featured Marco Jimenez and Dominguez. Forward Emmanuel "Tito" Villa also injured his hamstring early in Leg 1 and his absence could be a factor going forward. Who will show up in Leg 2 against DCU is anyone’s guess.
- D.C. United: United try to overcome last year's disappointment
- Queretaro: Can Queretaro continue Mexico's CCL dominance?
"United are experienced and have continuity on the backline, but the absence of Bill Hamid is just too much to overcome." -- Matt Doyle
"The struggling Liga MX side want no part of this feisty and gutsy D.C. United team. MLS finally gets its revenge against [Queretaro head coach] Victor Manuel Vucetich, who foiled RSL in the 2011 CCL final with Monterrey." -- Simon Borg*These picks are for the series, not individual legs
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