Here we are, game two of the 2018 season, and it’s already time for a United showdown. Of course, there
can should only be one. (By the way, you’re coming to watch with us, right?)
In 2017, D.C. United somewhat confusingly and unexpectedly caused a lot of trouble for Atlanta United—in an otherwise pretty bleak season, those games were bright spots for the Black-and-Red. So in this first 2018 match-up between the two, does DCU continue its trend of dominance as the one true United?
Well, we’re not so sure.
Donald Wine II
It’s the first time for the Black-and-Red in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which has a great atmosphere, but it’s against a team they beat three times last year with a guy that’s now in our lineup. What ATL hasn’t addressed this offseason is their defense, and that’s going to be the difference here. Yamil Asad scores twice against his former team, and Paul Arriola also puts one in to offset a Josef Martinez goal, and the good guys skrrt skrrt their way to a 3-1 win.
I’m not buying into the idea that Atlanta is going to be angry after their showing in Houston, and so they’re going to kick the stuffing out of D.C. United this week. It’s an old, dumb cliche that somehow a team will want to go from wanting to win a game with 100% of their being to somehow wanting to win it with 150% of their being because of something that happened. That’s not how it works. I’m also not fully buying into the idea that Atlanta was somehow exposed last week when they, a team that won just four road games last season, lost at Houston, a team that won 12 and lost just one of their 17 home matches in 2017. That said, I think Atlanta is going beat DCU this time. We’ll get a Paul Arriola goal, but it won’t be enough to cancel out a Josef Martinez brace. 2-1 to Atlanta.
I’m shorting Atlanta in exactly the way Rick isn’t. Until Tata fixes the issues that Houston exposed so ruthlessly last week and that were evident in preseason, I’ll pick them to underachieve. Coincidentally, I think those issues—softness through the middle and less coordinated and connected front-foot defending—dovetail with the positives we saw from los Capitalinos and the disappointing draw in Orlando. Gimme D.C. over the Interlopers United, 2-1. Goals from former ATLien Yamil Asad and Darren Mattocks with helpers from Paul Arriola and the returning Lucho Acosta. The hosts get one from (who else?) Josef Martinez but it’s not enough to break the Black-and-Red’s perfect record against the Five Stripes.
For a variety of reasons—Bill Hamid’s brilliance, and unexpectedly high execution on counterattacks, mostly—United was a nightmare for Atlanta in 2017. Based on what we saw in week 1 and some injury issues for the Five Stripes, I expect that to continue. ATL will high-press and create an early storm for D.C. to weather, but an early counter will give the Black-and-Red a lead through Yamil Asad, because this is fated. Atlanta will carry on with their Plan A, but they’ll get caught again just before halftime. This time, Luciano Acosta (who sets up the first goal) will see an attempted through ball deflected past Brad Guzan by Michael Parkhurst, because this is also fated. Hector Villalba will pull one back, and United will again have to hang on desperately, but we know the Fates prefer four stars over Five Stripes. DCU 2-1 ATL.
Maybe it’s me, but for most of the reasons D.C. would be favored over Atlanta (D.C. playing decently for a bit last week, knowing how to crack the Atlanta code, injuries to key Atlanta players), on the surface most of those things were reasons why D.C. was certain to lose to Atlanta at any point in 2017, and didn’t. So I’ll play inverse outlier here, and say that given this is Atlanta’s home opener after all, the hosts win 2-0 due to Martinez and Miguel Almiron, and the teeth gnashing over D.C.’s 2018 can begin and/or resume, as you’re so inclined.
Okay, I know it’s Atlanta’s home opener. And I know they had a rough start to the season last week. And I know DCU’s improbable streak of wins over Atlanta probably can’t last forever. But I also know that the Black-and-Red played decently last week, and I know that Atlanta is not some unbeatable beast, and I know, also, that logic simply has no place in MLS predictions anyway. DCU will win 2-1, and it will be through goals from Arriola and Asad.
So, what are you thinking for tomorrow’s game? Share your prediction in the comments! And here’s your silly poll for the week as well.
What are you most looking forward about the B&RU watch party at Dock FC tomorrow?
This poll is closed
Swag, because free stuff is ace
Trivia questions that Adam messes up
The camaraderie that comes with agonizing over/celebrating DCU with like-minded fools