Its 2:00 PM. Players from D.C. United and the Chicago Fire are both arriving at Toyota Park, meandering into the locker room, starting to get dressed, stretching. Both locker rooms have televisions. Both televisions are tuned to NBC. Both sets of players are rooting for the same team.
The teams take the field to begin warmups, but they're still a bit antsy. An equipment manager or communications associate is actively checking Twitter and calling out updates. "Goal, Philadelphia Union!" he says. Players on both teams smirk. Nick DeLeon and Austin Berry, friends from their time together at Louisville, make eye contact across the midfield line and exchange smiles.
Its not hard to imagine. United and the Fire have some shared rooting interests today. Both would love to see the New York Red Bulls fall in Philadelphia. But that doesn't mean either team will be trying any less hard two hours from now. Second place is on the line. Let's go get it.
Game time: 4:00 PM
TV: NBC Sports
Projected starting lineup: I don't think Ben Olsen will be going back to the 4-5-1 road lineup again this week. Rather, United will stick with the 4-4-2 that worked pretty well against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. That means that Maicon Santos will join Lionard Pajoy up top again, with Chris Pontius and DeLeon on the wings. Marcelo Saragosa and Perry Kitchen will be together in central midfield, shielding the back line of Chris Korb, Dejan Jakovic, Brandon McDonald, and Andy Najar. Bill Hamid will be in goal.
Prediction: I'm predicting a tie for the Red Bulls and a win for the Fire, which would put United in third place and give us a playoff game at RFK Stadium next Saturday.
What are you drinking? I made a stop at The Corridor in Laurel (I refuse to call it Total Wine) this week and made myself a six-pack of various Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers I hadn't tried before. Today I'll be tipping back the Saranac Pumpkin Ale. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.