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GameThread 4: D.C. United Vs. FC Dallas

Its Friday night. Hope D.C. comes out on top. Branko takes too many shots. He once was good but I forgot.
Its Friday night. Santos gets a yellow card. Salihi will be a star. Next week we get back Najar.
Its Friday night. DeRo gives the death stare. Brek Shea won't know what to wear. DeLeon has better hair.
Its Friday night. Our winning streak starts right now. Ben Olsen will show us how, Ohhhh, United.

For some reason, this has the feeling of being the biggest game so far of the young 2012 season. Maybe it's because the game will be on national TV, with an entire country's worth of MLS fans watching. Maybe it's because D.C. United showed so much improvement last week and finally looks to be on the right track. Maybe it's because this the best chance we've had so far at earning three points.

Like United, FC Dallas has the makings of a great team that hasn't quite got off the blocks yet. For one of these two teams, that might change tonight.

Game time: 7:30 PM

Television: NBC Sports Network

Projected starting lineup: Since the news emerged that Marcelo Saragosa has returned to Brazil for personal reasons and that Ben Olsen doesn't yet see Branko Boskovic as fully fit (both via Steven Goff of the Washington Post), our projected lineup has changed a bit since Wednesday. Perry Kitchen should be expected to return to the starting lineup from Olympic qualifying duty and Dwayne De Rosario seems likely to start next to him in midfield, as he did for 60 minutes against the Vancouver Whitecaps last week. Although I have no evidence to generate this suspicion, I'm also going to predict (or perhaps just hope?) that Chris Pontius will be moved to forward tonight, along with Hamdi Salihi, in a tactical shift to get more of our best players on the field. That would leave Nick DeLeon and Danny Cruz starting again on the wings, an unchanged back line of Daniel Woolard, Emiliano Dudar, Brandon McDonald, and Robbie Russell, and Joe Willis between the pipes.

Prediction: I think this United team will come out with a lot of energy and motivation, hopefully continuing the strong push that we saw in the last 30 minutes against the Whitecaps. RFK Stadium will deliver a great atmosphere, and an early goal to reward the fans would be oh so wonderful. In the end though, my prediction is a mere 1-1 draw as D.C. is still trying to find itself.

What are you drinking? I'm in the press box tonight, so I'll be refraining from drinking because I'm afraid of Kyle. But I'll give a shoutout to New Belgium's spring seasonal beer entitled Dig, which I had a few of yesterday at the Hard Times in College Park.

This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.