This one never needs extra hype. MLS's first rivalry is still heated, but even without that incentive both teams need points as MLS starts to approach the final stretch of the regular season. A win would allow D.C. United to keep pace in the Supporters Shield race, while the New York Red Bulls need wins to ensure they don't miss the playoffs. A victory for United would also ensure that the Atlantic Cup returns to where it belongs rather than remaining in filthy Metro hands.
Kickoff Time: 2:30 PM Eastern, though with NBCSN broadcasting the game it might be closer to 2:50. For those attending the game: Make sure you're inside early for United's celebration of the 10th anniversary of the 2004 MLS Cup-winning side.
Venue: RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington, DC
TV/Streaming: The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network, and for those out of the area it should be available through NBC Sports Live Extra for NBCSN subscribers.
Projected D.C. United starting XI: Ben Olsen chose a less-than-full-strength eleven for Wednesday's loss to the Galaxy, and one assumes that the idea was to put United's strongest team on the field against the hated Metros. As such, I'm predicting a lineup of Bill Hamid in goal; a back four consisting of Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, and Taylor Kemp; a midfield quartet of Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, and Chris Rolfe; and a forward pairing of Luis Silva and Fabian Espindola.
There is a chance of some sort of rotation given the long trip back from LA, but my guess is that the plan was always to play a "mixed" team Wednesday before going as hard as possible against the Red Bulls. Still, we might see subs a little earlier than Olsen usually tends to turn to his bench. Look for David Estrada and Eddie Johnson to both sub in for at least 20 minutes.
Match previews: Ben exchanged questions with Matt Coyne from Once a Metro, who posted their own preview as well. We also have a lineup prediction. As a bonus, we go back to 2007 to when Jaime Moreno became MLS's all-time leading scorer by converting a penalty kick against NYRB.
Prediction: Playing four days after having played on the other side of the country is tough, but this is still United vs. Metros. There are traditions to be upheld. United 3-1, with Espindola scoring twice on either side of a goal from DeLeon.
What are you drinking? I'll be coming from the beach with whatever Yuengling is left over from my short trip, so probably that.
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