Tonight DC United travels into Mexico to face Toluca in the CONCACAF Champions League. They are leaving Ben Olsen and Clyde Simms at home to rest from last Saturday's big league game and prepare for this weekends big league game, which have playoff implications.
DC wins and they are in. Any other results puts DC's fate in the hand of Marathon playing at San Juan Jabloteh (DC and Marathon are tied with 9 points but DC has the first tie breaker). San Juan is the bottom dweller in the group and home field advantage is not going to make up the skill difference.
DC on Saturday needs several things to fall there way to move into the MLS Playoffs but not win and in guarantee. MLS teams have not won a competitive game in Mexico since the league was founded. Why would you not try to own the thing you can control. A win and you are in versus saving players for a shot at a place in the MLS Playoffs.
Clearly DC has prioritized making the playoffs over this tournament. I don't know the economics of that decision but bet that is the reason.