Another week in which we ask ourselves, "Didn't we just play these guys?" The answer, of course, is yes - such is life at the mercy of the MLS scheduling gods (influential, though lesser, members of the soccer deity pantheon - kind of like Hades or Pan, the flute-playing half-goat thingy). Anyway, D.C. United head to the heartland tonight to take on the Columbus Crew in a bid to get the season back on-track. Here goes nothing.
Time: 7:30 pm EDT
Venue: Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
TV: This is the last game for a while that won't have any "real" TV presence, so get yourself to a bar with MLS Direct Kick or else a computer screen with an MLS Live sub. Or, just start driving toward Columbus now.
Projected D.C. Lineup: Will Ben Olsen go with the diamond this week? I'm less inclined to think so, if only because of how dismally it worked against the Crew last time we played. Starting at the back, we can all be pretty confident that Bill Hamid's defense will consist of Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic and Daniel Woolard. The questions, as always, start in midfield, and Chris Pontius' new groin injury makes things even tougher. I do expect Perry Kitchen and Raphael Augusto in the middle, though, with Kyle Porter and Marcos Sanchez on the outside for Pontius and our other unavailable first-choice wide man, Nick DeLeon. The real wrinkle is up top, where I expect Dwayne De Rosario to spend more time dropping into midfield to help keep possession, harass the Crew's pivots and facilitate the attack while Lionard Pajoy does the running up top (at least for the first 45').
Prediction: I'm obviously hoping I'll be surprised by a better United side than we've seen recently - and three unacceptable mistakes notwithstanding, we saw improvement against Philly, so maybe? - but until then, I can't confidently predict a D.C. win, especially not on the road against a team that's already beaten us at home this season. I'll call 2-1 to the Crew tonight.
What Are You Drinking?: Well, I'm taking advantage of the team going on the road to follow suit - only I'll be in the hometown of REM, the B-52s and Drive-By Truckers, Athens, Ga., watching lots of newer bands and sampling the local craft beer scene.
As always, this is your spot for pre-game, in-game and post-game discussion.