Tonight's game is vital for both sides: For D.C. United, it's the first chance to clinch a playoff spot without needing any help from anyone else. A win or a draw will do the job. For Sporting Kansas City, the season is quickly unraveling and they need a good 90 minute performance badly both for the standings and for their own mental health.
Kickoff Time: 8:00pm Eastern (though Steve Goff is reporting that NBCSN's pregame show will push that back to roughly 8:20)
Venue: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
TV/Streaming: NBC Sports Network was probably hoping United was still alive when they put this one on the schedule, and instead they may get to see a playoff-clinching result. If you want to stream this one, head to NBC Sports Live Extra (you need to already be getting NBCSN for that to work). WNEW 99.1 FM will carry the game on the radio if you're so inclined.
Projected DC United starting XI: I'm of the opinion that United's best means to keep KC at bay is to provide an attacking threat down the left. As such, I expect to see Bill Hamid in goal and a back four of Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, and Chris Korb. The midfield is where the difference really comes through: Nick DeLeon on the right, Jared Jeffrey and Davy Arnaud in the middle, and Chris Pontius from the start at left midfield. Up top, of course, it'll be Luis Silva underneath Fabian Espindola.
As for subs, I could see Samuel Inkoom coming on for Pontius around the hour mark, and Eddie Johnson will probably replace Silva sometime between the 65th and 75th minute. The last sub will come down to the scoreboard, but if LEWIS NEAL! gets in, things are probably going well.
Match previews: On the site this week, we've got a lineup prediction, a throwback to the last time United clinched a playoff spot, a scouting report featuring angry Peter Vermes, our staff predictions for the game, and a question exchange with Ben Gartland from The Blue Testament.
Elsewhere, Steve Goff profiled Arnaud for the Washington Post, and Dave Johnson wrote a preview for CSN Washington (warning: CSN's videos automatically start). United provided a video preview, while MLSsoccer went stat-heavy in theirs.
What are you drinking? I am planning on showing up to Lot 8 with a flask of Filibuster Rye and a spare cup. The cup is for me, since I'm getting over a cold.
This is the place to be for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion (hopefully including celebratory playoff talk).