The game against the New England Revolution may be D.C. United's toughest so far, traveling north to play against a hot team on a bad surface. None of your intrepid writers predict a win, but what do you all predict?
The Revs are hot, D.C. United is playing well, and the game is on turf. I predicted a 2-2 draw elsewhere, so I will stick with that prediction here.
Ten goals in the last two games for New England, and one goal allowed in the last three for DCU. Something's gotta give, then, and I think it'll be on the side of the team that just had to play midweek. 3-1 Revs.
We talked earlier about the difficulties MLS teams have had playing midweek then coming back and playing on the weekend, to say nothing of New England taking full advantage of said teams. The likely return of Eddie Johnson and the presumed return of Sean Franklin may inspire rotating other players into Ben Olsen's lineup, not only because of whatever SKC brings next week, but because the fact D.C. will play more games in two summer months than New England will over the course of three. I'm presuming New England wins this 3-1, but on a longer term if the team does well with a secondary lineup, the moral victory should serve as encouragement.
The big question this weekend for Ben Olsen against the Revs is whether he runs out his starting XI on short rest in an attempt to steal a point on the road, or does he rest a lot of his starters with an eye toward beating a struggling and depleted Sporting Kansas City side next week at RFK? We'll know the answer about an hour prior to game time, but I expect to see Olsen sit the thirty something's and give the young guys a run at New England. They play better than some fear they might, but they can't score and lose 2-0. (Completely equivocating, but if Olsen makes a max push for the point and runs out his best players, call it a 1-1 draw with Rolfe doing something magical to spark a goal).
New England goes up early. Their initial energy will be hard to match. But they won't know what to do with Espindorolfe, while they are busy glomming onto EJ. This game is a tie.
The Revs are scoring lots of goals at the moment, mostly against tired teams at the end of quick turn-arounds, scoring 10 goals in their last two games (!!!!), versus the Sounders and away at Philly. United's defense didn't have to do too much running against Houston on Wednesday, so we should see fewer goals from the hosts. But our midfield had a lot of work to do, so they could be a step slow, particularly come the second half of the game on New England's awful turf surface. I think United make a game out of it but can't unseat the current East leaders, falling 2-1.
New England has been on fire lately, but United is also back to its winning ways after Wednesday night's victory over Houston. EJ returns to the field after his suspension, realizes he's playing on turf, and decides to add to his goal total with a tally and Espindola gets another alley-oop from Chris Rolfe. In the end, I think we draw 2-2. Not sure where the 2 goals from New England come from, but my gut tells me we add another point to the ledger from a tough road game.
Lost in all the recent fawning over the Revs and their consecutive five-goal outings was that a) Seattle should have scored a few goals, and the Union (!) managed three against them and b) most of those goals were fueled by some suicidal passing. United is street-smart if nothing else, so that sort of fundamental error is unlikely.
I think DC can definitely score some goals in this one, but I also think the Revs can create a few even if we don't help them out. 2-2, with DeLeon and Johnson bagging the goals and Espindola notching both assists.