For the third time in 2014, and the second time in under two weeks, D.C. United will take on the New York Red Bulls, a team full of charlatans and people who litter. Over the weekend, NYRB actually helped United move five points clear of everyone else in the East by beating Sporting 2-1 hours before the Black-and-Red scratched out a 0-0 draw in Vancouver. Naturally, the aftermath of these two results was a nation-wide rush to praise the Metros, who are out of the playoffs at the moment, while United was more or less ignored once again. So it goes.
MLS fans have little option to pay attention to the wrong team, though, as ESPN has finally left Cascadia and will put tonight's match on national TV. It's a great chance for United to seal a 2014 sweep of NYRB while everyone else watches, and maybe in doing so we can finally get people to stop focusing on bad teams and start paying attention to the good ones.
Kickoff Time: 8:00pm Eastern.
TV/Streaming: ESPN2 on your TV, WatchESPN on your computer.
Projected DC United starting XI: It's a tough call for Ben Olsen after playing cross-country on arguably MLS's worst surface Saturday, but with no game on the weekend I think we see very few changes. Bill Hamid will remain in goal, and the back four will once again consist of Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, and Taylor Kemp. In the midfield, I think we'll see Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, and Davy Arnaud joined by LEWIS NEAL! on the left side. Up top, Luis Silva and Fabian Espindola will continue as the first-choice pair.
As for subs, I think United will have to give Arnaud a rest after an hour or so, so we might see Jared Jeffrey. I doubt Chris Pontius was included in the squad just for funsies, so expect him to get into the game around the 80th minute unless the circumstances prevent it.
Match previews: We've been busy. There's a walk down memory lane, Ben's lineup prediction, an episode of Filibuster - this time featuring actual soccer talk - and a scouting report from yours truly. Over at Once a Metro, Jason Iapicco has a preview from the NYRB perspective (note: If you go over there, play nice. Save your meanest #banter for Twitter). MLSsoccer has their normal preview as well.
Prediction: Both teams are going to be tired from their exertions on the weekend, and the Red Bulls may have come up with a formation that fits their personnel better. However, it was also a plan based on playing KC, a completely different team from United. This being the Atlantic Cup, I'm naturally going with United to win. 2-1, with goals from Espindola and Bobby Boswell.
What are you drinking? The same thing I was drinking on the episode of Filibuster I mentioned before: Goose Island Oktoberfest.
This is the place to be for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos!