It's new feature time, sports fans! This year, we're going to poll our staff before each D.C. United game for predictions and share them in a post. You're encouraged to share your predictions for the game in the comments. Let's get to it.
ChestRockwell: Dreadful previous season, new striker with USMNT caps, new Canadian assistant coach, Pontius just had offseason hamstring surgery, season opener at home vs. Columbus...clearly it's 2011 again. The Crew will be without Dominic Oduro, which given their stable of attackers is a loss United simply must punish. The stage is set for a 3-1 win that probably promises too much if taken as an omen for the whole season, but after 2013 I think we've earned the right to indulge. Goals for EJ, Boswell, and Espindola, with Federico Higuain briefly equalizing before halftime. Memorable celebration/Josh Wolff tribute duties probably fall on Boswell given his past history here.
blazindw: 2014 starts out on a high note: the defense, led by a couple timely saves from Bill Hamid, pitches a shutout, DeLeon and Kitchen control the midfield and Espindola hammers one home from the penalty spot. 1-0 to the good guys!
stephen.whiting: Expect Ben Olsen and the boys to start the season with a more attacking spirit than we saw last year. With greater confidence in the retooled back four, the team will generate more chances going forward than we've become used to at RFK, but don't expect the goals to flow like water yet. In week one, despite the better chances they will create, D.C. United will likely find putting the ball in the back of the net difficult. But, I foresee the defense playing well as expected, Hamid getting the clean sheet, and D.C. United winning the game 1-0 with a second half goal from a set piece header.
Bald Pollack: In watching DC against Seattle last week, seeing how DeAndre Yedlin and Dylan Remick caused a headache or two for the backline was mildly concerning. At least without seeing Dominic Oduro this week there is a mild sigh of relief to exert, even if Waylon Francis is present. That said, I have slightly more confidence in DC's rebuilt back line against Columbus attacking players and just as much in the opposite (all the moreso with Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez having a short trainup time due to a midweek friendly with Costa Rica), so I'll cop out in Week 1 and say 1-0 DC.
Adam M Taylor: United and Columbus are both dealing with a lot of new faces in the back, and I don't see either keeping a clean sheet. Both are also high on confidence after lifting preseason silverware. United have the home field advantage and the better attacking pieces, so we'll see the Black-and-Red with the better of the chances, but I think we're in for a minor disappointment with a 2-2 draw.
Ryan Bacic: As usual, Federico Higuain will find a way to create something out of nothing for the visiting Crew, but even against a revamped DC backline, Greg Berhalter's offense won't have much to work with outside of their No. 10. EJ bags his first for the Black-and-Red early in a 2-1 win-and, after Thursday's contract signing, this celebration will no longer be needed.
Dlewis: Considering the player turnover in the offseason and offenses somewhat tepid preseason performance, a 1-1 draw would be a good result. Crew jump out to an early lead before Eddie Johnson rescues us late on.
Touchline: United's defense is going to click into place and lock down. Columbus will not score. Our midfield will struggle to hear the same click - but we'll see glimpses of what they're capable of. RFK is Eddie Johnson's house now. He'll score one goal, signaling the start of the EJ era for DC United. He will celebrate. Prediction DCU wins, 2-0.
Ben Bromley: If D.C. United can't beat the Columbus Crew, even in the first game of the season, it will be a long one indeed. Just like in 2011, United scores three goals and someone takes off their shirt, with a comfortable win for the good guys.
So, do you share the optimism of the majority of our contributors? Or do you think we're in for a harsh start to the season?