Hello, Black and Red United! My name is Ben, and you might know my from my former blog, Before Extra Time. I've now been brought to Black and Red United is the resident rumor-monger.
The most recent rumors I have been mongering have been rumors about friendlies that D.C. United will play during the preseason. The first story to come out has been about Malmo FF, one of the top teams in Sweden. This past summer, Malmo was knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round by Rangers, and are most likely one of the few Swedish teams of which anyone in the United States have heard. The game is currently listed on Malmo's official schedule, but I haven't heard anything yet from US-based sources.
Now, a local newspaper out of Florida is reporting that D.C. United has another preseason friendly lined up. The Ave Herald, out of Ave Maria, Florida, is reporting that United will play the Chicago Fire in a preseason match on January 29th, four days before they play Malmo FF. Why should we believe a paper out of a tiny Florida town? Well, they happen to be the town in which the Fire are holding their training camp, with quotes in the article from Franz Klopas. They are reporting that the game will be on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University, starting at 2pm.
The Fire will be a familiar foe for United this season, playing them twice during the regular season as well as during the Carolina Challenge Cup in late February and early March. What I will be looking for the most is not the results per se, but the progress United makes between the two matches. They are also a good measuring stick for United's progress throughout the course of the preseason. D.C. United finished 4 points behind the Fire last season, with both teams just barely missing the playoffs; to make the playoffs this upcoming season, the Fire are one of the teams that United will have to pass. Good showings in these matches won't guarantee anything, but will go miles towards calming fans' nerves about the upcoming season.