D.C. United vs. Waterhouse FC
2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League
August 20 | 8 pm ET | RFK Stadium
TV: Fox Sports 2
D.C. are back in the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time, following their miraculous run to the 2013 US Open Cup title, and are much improved after an otherwise historically bad season. A big test of their newfound depth begins Wednesday when they begin play in a CONCACAF Champions League group that they are widely expected to win. Jamaica's Waterhouse FC may have something else to say about that, following a surprise 2-1 win away at the other participants in Group 4, Tauro FC.
SURPRISE PACKAGE: Coming into the group, it was expected that Tauro's experience would make them the primary candidates to unseat D.C. United at the top of the group, but they were brought back down to earth with a home defeat that may just have ruined any chance at making the knockout round, with home and away matches against D.C. and a trip to Jamaica remaining.
If Waterhouse manage to spring yet another surprise at RFK Stadium on Wednesday night, they would be well on their way towards becoming the first Caribbean side to reach the CCL knockout rounds since the Puerto Rico Islanders did it in 2008-09, the very first year of the competition.
WHO'LL PLAY? The CCL schedule offers no favors to MLS teams, who also have to contend with a congested stretch run during the group stage. That means we may see some different faces in the D.C. lineup, and so far, goalkeeper Joe Willis has been confirmed as the starter ahead of Bill Hamid. Eddie Johnson could also start, given that his current suspension only applies to league games and means he won't be available this weekend, while new acquisition David Estrada could also be in line for a start.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Fabian Espindola, D.C. United: No one on the D.C. roster has come as close to winning the CCL as Espindola, who was cruelly denied while a member of the Real Salt Lake side that reached the final of the 2010-11. The Argentine has made clear his desire to go one step further, and boasts a pedigree that can certainly help United get there. Look for him to be a force in this year's CCL.
Romario Campbell, Waterhouse FC: Campbell, a midfielder with a handful of caps for the Jamaican national team, scored that fine free kick above and was instrumental in Waterhouse's table-topping campaign in the 2013-14 Jamaican first division and their run to the championship final. Consider D.C. warned about fouling outside their own box.