Holy smokes, Batman! D.C. United have an actual game this weekend? Indeed they do, Robin, against the Houston Dynamo. United makes another trip to BBVA Compass Stadium this Sunday, but hopefully the heat of the past few weeks will have them prepared for the oven that is that stadium. A theme upon which the mainstream soccer media has been harping is United lack of signature wins against the top competition, especially on the road. The best team that United has beaten away from RFK is the New England Revolution.
A statement win here would not only throw that monkey off the team's back (in a season of monkey throwing), but would also destroy the hex that the Dynamo have put on United. And while I don't know if it would be the perfect solution for his professional career, it would surely be a boon to D.C. United if Geoff Cameron's transfer to Stoke City went through before this game.
My predicted lineup is exactly the same as the lineup trotted out two weeks ago against the Montreal Impact. While I am on the record as preferring Chris Pontius as a forward, I just don't see it happening right now. I like Dwayne De Rosario as the second forward, and for more than the fact that it gets him closer to goal: it also allows him to not work quite as hard on the defensive side of the ball. Keeping DeRo fresh is going to be at the top of the player management issues list; my dream scenario would be for him to be taken out by the 70th minute for every game. I know its not possible, but if there were just a few games that he didn't play all of, it would help.
The other main switch for which people are clamoring is Emiliano Dudar for Brandon McDonald. We have been teased by his defensive prowess and his distribution, but apparently he is not putting it together in practice enough to beat out McDonald in Ben Olsen's eyes. It could also be a factor that McDonald is United's only destroyer in the spine of the team. Perry Kitchen is a very good defensive midfielder, but he is not that Jermaine Jones-esque destroyer. Question for discussion: in this league, do you need to have a player like that in your defensive spine, or do you think United could thrive with Dudar, Jakovic, and Kitchen?
As for the subs, they look to be Joe Willis, Hamdi Salihi, Lewis Neal, Nick DeLeon, Emiliano Dudar, Marcelo Saragosa, and one of Long Tan or Josh Wolff. Personally, I'd prefer Tan to see what he can do. What do you all see for United's first third matchup against a team this season?