It's not a major trophy in the way that the Supporters' Shield, MLS Cup or the Open Cup might be, but if you're a D.C. United fan, odds are that the Atlantic Cup is right up there on the List of Trophies We Must Always Win. The embodiment of the oldest MLS rivalry, between United and their long-time whipping boys up in New Jersey, the Atlantic Cup has made itself at home in the stuffed-to-bursting trophy case at RFK Stadium, spending relatively little time on the empty mantle at Red Bull Arena. Tonight, despite the general awfulness that has been their 2013 campaign, the Black-and-Red have a chance to claim their 13th season series win against the New York Red Bulls. All it will take is a two-goal victory for the Forces of Good on national TV.
How hard could it be?
Time: 8 pm EDT
Venue: Red Bull Arena,
Cesspool Harrison, NJ
TV/Streaming: It'll all go down on NBCSN nationwide, with online/mobile access via NBC Sports Live Extra.
Match Previews: As always, our own ChestRockwell has the best opposition scouting report you're going to see anywhere. Also be sure to check out this week's episode of Filibuster to catch (among other things) our chat with Matt Coyne from our RBNY sister site Once a Metro. Speaking of, those guys have their own preview from the Jersey-perspective, looking at the knowns and unknowns coming into tonight.
Projected D.C. Lineup: After last weekend's dominant but disappointing draw against Toronto, Ben Olsen will have to decide whether to use the same strikerless formation against a depleted Red Bulls side. My hunch is that he will, with some modifications. Bill Hamid will get the start in goal, with Chris Korb, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard and Dennis Iapichino in defense. Perry Kitchen and Jared Jeffrey man the center of midfield, with Nick DeLeon on the right and Conor Doyle out left. Dwayne De Rosario and Luis Silva man the attack as double-false 9s. For more on this topic, click over to Benuski's lineup projection.
Match Prediction: As much as I hate losing to the Metros - and honestly, there are few things as a sports fan that I personally hate more than losing to the Metros - even a moderate improvement by Thierry Henry & Co. should be enough to best our struggling boys in black. I think United competes well but falls 2-1 to a brace from Espindola, with DeRo providing some consolation against his former club.
What Are You Drinking?: Well, I found some limes and I've got plenty of gin, so I'll be drinking the official native cocktail of the District of Columbia, a gin rickey.
As always, this is your place for pre-game, in-game and post-game commentary about all things United and MLS.