Hopefully Hamdi Salihi will be celebrating this way for D.C. United on Saturday.
D.C. United, coming off another game in which they failed to score, faces a game in which they should score and one that they should win if they want to be a contender in the Eastern Conference. While the New England Revolution look better than they have in recent years, they are dealing with a string of injuries and suspensions that will keep many of their best players off the field. Names like Shalrie Joseph, Sainey Nyassi, Benny Feilhaber, and Kevin Alston all look to be out for this game.
But United have had a rough recent history against the Revolution. Every year we point to the Revolution game as when the team will get back on track and chalk them up as guaranteed wins. But recent (and medium term) history does not back that up. The last time D.C. United beat New England was 16 October 2008, and the last time we beat them twice in a season was 2007. But as always, I am running towards this game with optimism, hoping that Lucy (Jay Heaps?) doesn't pull the football from under my foot yet again.
The only changes that I see happening are those based on the availability of players. First, Andy Najar will start in place of Danny Cruz on the right wing. He showed well during the Olympic qualifying tournament and so hopefully that form can translate back to his club. Brandon McDonald will also step back into his starting role, even though I think that Dejan Jakovic played well. I am always nervous when Jakovic is in the game, wondering if he will commit a stupid foul or have a game breaking brain fart, even if it doesn't happen in that particular match. That may not be fair, but I think it is in the back of many fans' minds.
I think that Joe Willis will start over Bill Hamid to allow him to fully recover; however, I would not be at all surprised to see Bill start if the club thinks that he is ready. There is no need to rush him back with the form that Willis has been showing. Also, with Shalrie Joseph being suspended, I wouldn't mind seeing Branko Boskovic get more time on the field, especially since his play has gotten better and better over the past few games. I won't be so bold as to predict that he will start, but I wouldn't mind seeing him come in at halftime if the offense has not started clicking.
As for the subs, it will be Bill Hamid, Branko Boskovic, Chris Pontius, Danny Cruz, Stephen King, Dejan Jakovic, and Chris Korb. What are your predictions and/or hopes for the lineup against the Dixie Wanderers?