D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid has vowed that his side “will go until the wheels fall off” in their bid to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Black and Red snapped a four-game winless run that had seen them collect just one point with a much-needed 1-0 victory over New York Red Bulls in midweek.
That win moved United into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two games to go, the first of those being Saturday’s visit of Columbus Crew to Audi Field.
The Red Bulls and CF Montreal are a point behind United with a game in hand, but Hamid is retaining hope of holding on for a postseason spot.
“We have faith. We have belief. We walk into every game wanting to win, and that’s the first step,” he said. “So we’re going to lay it out all on the line.
“Everybody gives everything they can until they can’t anymore. So we’re going to go until the wheels fall off.
“The goal is just to get into the playoffs and make a run as far as we can, and we’re going to do that. We’re going to do our best to do that.”
The Crew are themselves still in with a slim chance of making the playoffs, but they must beat United and hope other results go their way over the next week or so.
Caleb Porter’s side battled to a 3-2 victory against Orlando City SC last time out to keep their season alive, and assistant boss Ezra Hendrickson is hoping for a similar performance against D.C.
“Everyone played well in the last game but now we have to head to D.C. and get three points there,” said Hendrickson, who is filling in after Porter tested positive for coronavirus.
“D.C. are also fighting for their playoff lives. It’s not going to be an easy battle, but we just have to match their intensity and, if we do what we did against Orlando, we’ll be fine.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
D.C. United – Bill Hamid
Kevin Paredes was the match-winner for United with his early goal against the Red Bulls, but Hamid deserves just as much praise as he made five saves to keep out the opposition. Those stops contributed to an eighth clean sheet of the MLS season and will fill the 30-year-old with confidence after conceding six in the previous game against New York City FC.
Columbus Crew – Lucas Zelarayan
Zelarayan showed once again in the win over Orlando City why he is so highly rated by playing a part in all three of the Crew’s goals. Not content with setting up Miguel Berry and Derrick Etienne in the first half, the Armenia international scored a brilliant goal of his own for what proved to be the decisive strike.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– D.C. United have won four of their five meetings with Columbus since the start of the 2019 season (L1). Only Orlando City (also four) have as many wins over the Crew in that time.
– United attempted only four shots in their 1-0 win over the Red Bulls on Wednesday. D.C. have only won one other game in the last six years in which they attempted four shots or fewer, beating Orlando City 2-1 in March 2019 with just four attempts.
– The Crew won for their fourth time in their last eight games with a 3-2 win over Orlando City on Wednesday. Including the playoffs, Columbus have won 17 consecutive MLS matches when scoring three or more goals.
– Ola Kamara, who scored 35 goals in 64 games with the Crew in 2016 and 2017 (including playoffs), has scored four goals in four matches against his former team, including three goals in two games this season. The only two players to score four times against the Crew in a single season over the last 15 years were David Villa (five) in 2016 and Thierry Henry (four) in 2012.
– After a two-assist, one-goal performance against Orlando, Zelarayan leads the Crew this season in assists with seven and is tied with Gyasi Zardes for the team lead in goals with nine. Zelarayan is looking to become the first player to lead the Crew in both goals and assists in the same season since Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain tied for the team lead in each category in 2014.