There are three teams in the Eastern Conference who are out of the conversation when it comes to the MLS Playoffs: the New England Revolution, Toronto FC, and the Philadelphia Union. Fortunately, the unbalanced schedule was kind to D.C. United this year, giving the team three matches against all three of these teams. On Saturday night at RFK Stadium, United made a great stride towards earning a playoff spot by clinching nine points in the season series against the Revolution. On Oct. 6, United can do the same against TFC.
The Union though? The most points we can get from the Union would be seven, due to a disappointing and controversial draw one month ago. If you think about it, seven points this season would be a good tally for D.C. to take from Philadelphia. That's the goal tonight in a nationally televised must-win game for United. And if we can make it 25 points out of the total available 27 points against those bottom three teams in the East, even better.
Game time: 8:00 PM
Projected starting lineup: If we were in a more comfortable part of the schedule with a week between every game, the starting lineup would be easy to predict. Ben Olsen would just use the same lineup that earned him a win over the Revs. But its not that simple. United played just five days ago, and plays again this Sunday. Resting some legs might be vital.
With that in mind, and with the chippiness of this season series, look for Marcelo Saragosa (listed as probable) to start ahead of Branko Boskovic in central midfield, with the Montenegran emerging as a substitute with tons to prove in the second half. I could also see Lewis Neal starting at left midfield to give Nick DeLeon a rest. That would move Chris Pontius to the right, with Perry Kitchen remaining in defensive midfield and Maicon Santos and Lionard Pajoy as the best options up top. The rest of the lineup will be unchanged with Chris Korb, Dejan Jakovic, Brandon McDonald, and Andy Najar along the back line, and Bill Hamid in goal.
Prediction: 2-0 United
What are you drinking? Green Mountain Coffee's "Our Blend"
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