Take a disco nap if you need it after work today, friend. You're in for a late night. As it turns out, 8pm
Pinko Pacific Time is quite a bit later here on the more populated coast. As a result, I've been caffeinating all afternoon to make sure I'm awake at the final whistle when D.C. United visits the San Jose Earthquakes tonight. These two teams played a thrilling 5-3 goalfest in the same stadium just two years ago, but tonight should be a rather more staid affair as the 2014 versions of both sides focus on defense first. Nevertheless, the hosts will need to score to escape the Western Conference basement, while the Black-and-Red will want to find some goals during Fabian Espindola's extended absence to injury. Whatever happens, it'll be on national television, so get ready.
Let's do this thing.
Kickoff Time: 11pm EDT
Venue: Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Cal.
TV/Streaming: NBCSN will cary tonight's match coast-to-coast with streaming on their NBC Sports Live Extra app.
Projected DC XI: With Expindola out, the only real question is who will pair with Eddie Johnson up top. I think Ben Olsen will switch things up, moving Luis Silva to the bench and Chris Rolfe into that position, allowing Lewis Neal to play on the left side of midfield in those famously small confines San Jose calls a soccer field. Look for the same 4-4-2 we've all come to know so well: Bill Hamid; Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Chris Korb; NickDeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Lewis Neal; Eddie Johnson, Chris Rolfe. For more permutations, check out Ben Bromley's lineup projection.
Match Previews: As always, we've got you covered with our podcast preview from this week's episode of Filibuster. (And with the late start, you've got plenty of time to listen to it tonight!) We've also got ChestRockwell's
world- locally internet-famous scouting report on the Quakes. Be sure to check out D.C. United's own preview and tactical breakdownas well as NBC's look.
Prediction: I've got this one down as a 2-1 win for the good guys. Steve Birnbaum will get his first professional goal in a homecoming for the Cal product, and EJ will finally net his second in Black-and-Red. Chris Wondolowski will pull one back for the hosts on his return from World Cup duty, but it won't be enough to deny United all three points. See some other takes over at our prediction thread.
What Are You Drinking: It's blessedly cooler than it has been the rest of this week in DC, so I'm comfortable mixing a manhattan for tonight's proceeding. I'll most likely be using Knob Creek Rye.
Welcome to your late night gamethread. This is the place for any and all pre-game, in-game and post-game conversation, commentary and whatever else catches your fancy as your first-place D.C. United conquer San Francisco Bay.