Tonight is a great opportunity for D.C. United to further cement their position in the CONCACAF Champions League's Group H by defeating Montego Bay United, the group's outsiders. DCU is technically in second place in the group after their 1-0 win over leaders Arabe Unido, but having won in Panama they are clearly the team holding most of the cards as far as advancing to the knockout stage goes. MBU, meanwhile, must avoid defeat if they're to maintain any realistic hope of pulling off a shock run at a spot in the quarterfinals.
D.C. United Projected Starting 11: It seems safe to assume that Andrew Dykstra will continue in goal tonight, leaving Bill Hamid a few more days to heal for Sunday's huge Atlantic Cup match. The back four will likely feature Jalen Robinson at right back, Steve Birnbaum and Kofi Opare in central defense, and Luke Mishu at left back. In the midfield, look for Miguel Aguilar on the right, Markus Halsti playing a deep role in the middle behind Michael Farfan, and Chris Pontius on the left. Up front, Facundo Coria should partner with Jairo Arrieta.
Off the bench, it seems certain that we'll see Conor Doyle somewhere on the flanks or up front. After that, the subs may both be in central midfield: Jared Jeffrey could replace Halsti if the game is going well enough, and it'd be awfully nice to see Collin Martin in a central role for more than the handful of minutes he saw in Panama.
Match previews: As a staff, we unanimously predicted a solid win for United, and checked in with an expert to scout Montego Bay. Finally, our preview emphasized the importance of Halsti's role tonight.
Elsewhere, MLSsoccer ran this great piece on MBU's trek to the District as well as their typical preview. At the Washington Post, Steve Goff included an update on Hamid and Fabian Espindola in his pre-game piece.
What are you drinking: I've been told by a reliable source that there will be Flying Dog's Numero Uno Summer Cerveza in a cooler for some Lot 8 drinking.
Prediction: I'm sticking with my 3-1 prediction from earlier today. I think we see a first half goal from Pontius, and a header on a set piece from Opare early in the second stanza. Once the game opens up as MBU pushes their tired legs to pull one back, Arrieta bags a third. However, Montego Bay does manage to notch a goal just before full time, adding the tiniest bit of intrigue to next month's match against Arabe Unido.
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