Washington, D.C. – D.C. United thought it had done enough to earn home field advantage in the first round of the MLS Playoffs, finishing the regular season second in the Eastern Conference with 58 points.
Unfortunately for the fabled club, that will not happen due to circumstances beyond its control.
The residual impact left by Hurricane Sandy has forced Major League Soccer to switch the location of Saturday's affair as it was announced Wednesday that the first leg of its playoff series against Red Bull New York will be played at RFK Stadium instead of Red Bull Arena.
"We're not down about it, we're not frustrated at all," United goalkeeper Bill Hamid told the club's official website. "It's a decision that was made and we've got two games to play. We want two wins and that's what we're going to fight for."
It will be United's first playoff match in five years as the club last made a postseason appearance in 2007.
"Having these fans behind us, it's going to be a special night," said defender Brandon McDonald. "It's going to be a packed house. I think it's going to be a special time."
It should prove to be a special occasion for Dax McCarty as well. The midfielder joined the Red Bulls from D.C. last season and he will look to bite the hand that once fed him.
"I obviously look forward to the game because it's my former team, but I don't think I need any extra motivation or need to pump myself up any more to play them," McCarty told MLSsoccer.com. "I've said this before; I think it was a good trade for both teams. It wasn't working out there for myself and I'm really happy here in New York, so I'm kind of glad that it happened. But at the end of the day I'm a competitor and I just want to win."
McCarty has been a crucial figure for New York this term, which is quite an accomplishment given the club's high-profile roster of Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Tim Cahill.
"Dax has been playing phenomenal for us," assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen said. "We've been using him central, we have been using him as a wall in front of the back four in some games [and he's] done that perfect, he has played more offensive in the midfield and done that perfect, and now he has been playing on the sides and have done that also very good."
The two sides split the three-game regular season series, going 1-1-1 in Atlantic Cup play. D.C. has edged New York in aggregate scoring in their meetings thus far though, putting eight goals past the Red Bulls while only conceding five.