I can't blame you if you're excited about D.C. United being on national television this Sunday against the New York Red Bulls. I'm excited too. Its our biggest rival, and for once both teams are playing well. When's the last time that D.C. and New York were both in the top three in the Eastern Conference standings? That should be a great game.
But we'd be crazy to look past the Montreal Impact tonight.
The number of points gained against the Impact are worth no more or less than the number of points gained against the Red Bulls in the MLS standings. And regardless of the total number of points D.C. manages to gain against the Red Bulls this year, we'd be in the playoffs if we can focus hard enough on beating the weaker teams in the conference. That's where United has fallen short in recent years. Nine points against the Impact, seven or more against the New England Revolution and Toronto FC - more than beating our rivals, that should be the goal this year - racking up points against the teams that can't match our talent.
Game time: 7:30 PM
Television: Comcast SportsNet
Projected starting lineup: This is the most difficult lineup of the season to predict. The writers of this blog have been pretty clear in our desires to spread out the minutes a bit this week, but my suspicion at this point is that Ben Olsen will go in a different direction. And so my prediction is that we'll see largely the same starting lineup tonight as we saw in New England on Saturday, accommodating only for injuries. That means Joe Willis in goal, with Daniel Woolard, Brandon McDonald, Robbie Russell, and Chris Korb in front of him. And it means Maicon Santos and Hamdi Salihi up top, with Nick DeLeon, Dwayne De Rosario, Daniel Cruz, and Perry Kitchen supporting in the midfield.
Prediction: I don't think this United team is quite ready to bust open the floodgates again like they did against FC Dallas (let's save that for Sunday), but I do think the team is strong enough to escape with a relatively close 2-0 win.
What are you drinking? I'll be in the press box at RFK tonight, so a can of Coke will be the most dangerous beverage at my disposal. Feel free to share your own drinks of choice in the comments below.
This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.