April has been strange for D.C. United. Today’s game against the Philadelphia Union will be only their second outing of the month due to a bye week and Toronto FC/MLS moving April 7th’s game back to June. Technically, the Black-and-Red are coming off of a win, but it can be hard to built forward momentum with so much time in between games.
The Union, meanwhile, are in a very similar spot to the one United was in heading into that tense 1-0 victory over Columbus. Philly has gone five straight without a win, and have just one goal from those games despite creating plenty of shooting opportunities. They’re frustrated with how things are going, and a loss today would see them fall below 1 point per game at home (where they’ve already played four times, collecting just four points).
That said, United is under pressure too, as this game kicks off an eight-game series of road games that could well determine their fate come playoff time. Sure, it’s only April, but make no mistake: this is a big game for both teams.
Location: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, PA)
Kickoff time: 3:30pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (4141) - Steve Clark; Nick DeLeon, Frederic Brillant, Steve Birnbaum, Joseph Mora; Chris Durkin; Zoltan Stieber, Luciano Acosta, Ulises Segura, Yamil Asad; Darren Mattocks
Bench: David Ousted, Kofi Opare, Oniel Fisher, Jared Jeffrey, Ian Harkes, Bruno Miranda, Patrick Mullins
There’s some guesswork here. Will the 4141 stay in place on the road? Is Clark really going to start over a healthy Ousted? What about Mattocks vs. Mullins? United has kept the answer to all three of these questions close to the vest.
You might wonder about Miranda being included, given that United has had to list him as on loan to deal with the fact that they have 8 internationals for 7 spots. Last night, United confirmed to us that Brillant has received his green card, which means Miranda can be included without having to make any corresponding room to open up a spot for him. He’ll step into the 18, with Stieber starting for the suspended Paul Arriola.
Projected Philadelphia starting 11: (4231) - Andre Blake; Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Ray Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; Ilsinho, Borek Dockal, David Accam; CJ Sapong
Elliott may or may not be back from a knee injury; if he can’t go, Jim Curtin will turn to 19-year-old Mark McKenzie. Of course, McKenzie also may have an injury picked up last week, so there’s a chance Josh Yaro gets the nod instead. Beyond that, we don’t expect many changes, save for Ilsinho over Fafa Picault.
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Available TV: UniMas
Available streaming: Twitter. No, seriously, go to @MLS or @UnivisionSports and watch the game for free, live. Also, MLS Live for those outside the blackout radius (you might want to check that against this from MLS, which checks your zip code against the blackout list)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What do we have to say about it?: We went in depth on the goalkeeper situation, talked about the game from a few different angles on Filibuster, discussed the Union lineup, and went shockingly optimistic with our predictions.
What are you drinking?: I will be joining the intrepid Steven Streff in the press box for this one, so I’ve got a strong feeling I’ll be drinking bottled water at kickoff.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos winning streak!