You can't really blame Comcast SportsNet for not picking this one up. It's the two worst teams in MLS' Eastern Conference, one of which is riddled with injuries while the other isn't even traveling some of its best players as it looks forward to a much more important match in three days' time. It's in a time slot that competes directly with B1G and SEC football in a year when nobody in their right mind (I am not in my right mind.) wants to watch the hometown team play soccer. Under the new agreement with the team, they'd have to foot at least some of the production expenses, which are nonzero even without the cost of sending the on-air talent on the road.
If it seems like I'm deflecting and deliberately not talking about this afternoon's match-up between Toronto FC and our own D.C. United, it's only because that's exactly what I'm doing. But let's get over this so we can get to the gallows humor in the comments.
Time: 1 pm EDT, even in Canada.
TV/Streaming: None of the former if you live in the DMV, even if you've got Direct Kick. That's because, with CSN opting not to exercise their right to air the game, Ted Leonsis's brand new Monumental Network will step into the void and stream the game live and online, free of charge, within the metro area. Dave Johnson and Santino Quaranta will be on the mic, and coverage will start around 15 minutes before kickoff, at 12:45. Of course, if you live beyond the reaches of This Town, the game (presumably with Toronto's production) will be available on MLS Live and Direct Kick.
Match Previews: ChestRockwell gave his usual in-depth treatment to TFC, and I exchanged a few questions with my counterpart at SB Nation's Toronto FC blog. There's also this week's Filibuster to listen to. Waking the Red has the home side's perspective, with their look at United and a piece pleading that surely their Reds can win this game.
Projected D.C. Lineup: This will be the toughest XI for an outsider to predict since the youth movement reared its head in Philly several weeks back, not least because at the time I'm writing this, I don't know who all has traveled north and who's been left in the District. But it's my job to try and guess which starters play and which don't, so here goes - Bill Hamid in goal, as one final prep for the USOC Final on Tuesday. Along the back, Chris Korb, Conor Shanosky, Ethan White and Taylor Kemp. John Thorrington and Lewis Neal in central midfield, with Kyle Porter and (sad as I am to say it) Sainey Nyassi on the wings. Collin Martin in attacking midfield, with Conor Doyle up top. For another take, here's Benuski's lineup projection post from earlier this week.
Match Prediction: I think the kids somehow get us off to a good start through Doyle before the inevitable defensive miscues bite us. Again. 1-1 draw for me. I'm also convinced that, somehow, TFC 'keeper Joe Bendik will score the equalizer, and I will cry and laugh and cry and cry.
What Are You Drinking?: I think instead of punishing ourselves further with the "straight shots of vodka" route we took on an episode of Filibuster earlier this season, you should go the other direction and TREAT YO SELF. To that end, I'm going to be drinking the best bourbon that I happen have on hand, which at this moment is probably Eagle Rare.
In the best of times and - more familiarly - in the worst of times, this is the place for pre-game, in-game and post-game conversation, so have at it in the comments.