The thermometer is persistently above 80, the humidity is up and there are thunderstorm chances in the area every single day for going on two weeks. Summer is here in the nation's capital, and that means it's schedule crunch time in Major League Soccer. Between regular weekend league games, midweek league match-ups and the U.S. Open Cup, D.C. United are in the midst of a stretch of 5 games in 16 days.
They'll play game three of this part of the schedule tonight against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are currently hanging on to the edge of the Western Conference playoff places. For the Black-and-Red, things are looking in a direction other than straight down (even if not, strictly speaking, "up") for the first time in 2013, as the team enters tonight in their best form of the season, 3-1-1 in their last five games across all competitions. As ChestRockwell pointed out in our Scouting Report of the 'Caps, they're a beatable team that can leak goals but nevertheless has an ability to put up more than its share when they're on their game.
Should make for an exciting night.
Time: 7 pm EDT
Venue: RFK Memorial Stadium in the District
TV: Comcast SportsNet in the region, and streaming online via MLS Live elsewhere
Projected D.C. Lineup: It's tough to say whether Ben Olsen will rest any regulars coming off a midweek U.S. Open Cup win and with a trip to Seattle looming on Wednesday. We can be confident that Bill Hamid will start in goal, even as he is scheduled to depart for Gold Cup duty tomorrow. In front of him, look for Daniel Woolard and one of Ethan White (if healthy) or Conor Shanosky (if White can't go) in central defense, with Chris Korb and Alain Rochat at the fullback spots. Perry Kitchen will start, but John Thorrington, with his long injury history and already two games in the last eight days, is a question mark in midfield. If the former Whitecap is held out against his former team, look for Marcelo Saragosa or Nick DeLeon to deputize next to Kitchen. Kyle Porter will start on one wing, with either DeLeon or Sainey Nyassi on the other. Up top, we should see Chris Pontius and captain Dwayne De Rosario partner for the second straight game.
Prediction: With these two defenses, there should be goals-a-plenty in this one. I think United finally bring some of their Open Cup form to their league campaign and manage to hang a few on Vancouver. Give me the home side, 3-2.
What Are You Drinking?: On a hot one like this, I'm not ashamed to admit I'll be drinking an American light lager: Yeungling Light.
You guys know the drill: This is your place for pre-game, in-game and post-game conversation.