Tonight, things are pretty simple: If D.C. United can avoid defeat against the worst team in Group 4, they'll be either the first or second team in the entire CONCACAF Champions League to seal a spot in the quarterfinals next spring (depending on what time Pachuca's game with CSD Municipal ends). The Black-and-Red will want to get the job done tonight so they can afford to leave their starters in DC for the long flight down to Panama a month from now.
For visiting Tauro FC, the CCL has been a disaster thus far, but they're still technically alive. However, they need to win tonight and again in late October when United visits Panama to go through.
Kickoff Time: 8:00pm Eastern.
Venue: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
TV/Streaming: Fox Sports 2 is the only TV outlet carrying the game, while FoxSoccer2Go is your online source. As has been the case with all CCL games, please do not post illegal streaming links anywhere on Black and Red United.
Projected DC United starting XI: All signs point to a mixture of starters and second-choice players. Joe Willis will probably get the nod in goal, and I'm guessing we'll see a back four with Nana Attakora playing right back, Kofi Opare and Steve Birnbaum centrally, and Chris Korb on the left. The midfield will likely feature Alex Caskey and David Estrada on the flanks while Jared Jeffrey and Lewis Neal man the engine room. Up top, Fabian Espindola and Eddie Johnson will look to put this game away early.
I would like to include Chris Pontius on the list of starters, but Taylor Kemp's suspension requires a start for Chris Korb, who Ben Olsen has said can't go 90 minutes. That makes it difficult to start Pontius - who is in the same boat minutes-wise - at the same time. Instead, I think Party Boy will sub in for Espindola (perhaps as early as halftime if the score allows it). Elsewhere, I think we'll see Korb come off around the hour mark, but it's more likely than not that a midfielder (Kyle Porter?) will come on to allow Caskey to play the left back role he also played against Waterhouse at RFK. Third sub...let's go with Michael Seaton coming on for EJ.
Match previews: Check out our (extremely confident) staff predictions, Ben's lineup prediction, and the latest episode of Filibuster. MLSsoccer did their own preview, while Soccer Insider Steve Goff looked at the status of all five of MLS's CCL representatives.
What are you drinking? I am planning on buying a six-pack of Yuengling to share with friends in Lot 8, but that could change.
This is the place to be for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion for those of you who couldn't make it to RFK. If you can, though, come on out. It'll be fun, I promise.