The good news for DC United, if any can be taken from a 3-1 loss, is that DC tends to play very well at home while Houston tends to struggle on the road.
The bad news for DC is that a good portion of their lineup is suffering from injuries.
During the Houston game, DC used all three of its substitutes replacing injured players. Chris Pontius, Marcelo Saragosa and Brandon McDonald were all taken off in the game with various injuries. Both Pontius and Saragosa did not even make it to halftime.
With a full week to rest and heal, DC’s injury woes may not be as bad as they looked on Sunday, but Pontius’ injury, in particular, is troubling. He injured his groin and that is an injury unlikely to fully heal before the second leg.
DC United may, however, get a boost from a returning Dwayne De Rossario, who has missed the last two months with a strained MCL.
Houston is not without injuries concerns either as Adam Moffat left Sunday’s game in the 25th minute with a chest injury and Calen Carr and Ricardo Clark did not even play on Sunday.
Andy Najar will also not be available for DC United as he is serving a suspension, earned in the conference semifinals when he stupidly threw a ball at the center official.
In this war of attrition, the final leg of the conference finals could come down to a game of last man standing.
DC, who at many times this year has been too stubborn to know when they are beaten, will be able to work its way back into this series scoring a couple of goals at home, but Houston will find one goal as well to sneak by 4-3 on aggregate.