There were about as many positives as there were negatives in D.C. United's first preseason friendly, a 1-1 draw with Orlando City. The Black-and-Red should have scored at least one more goal, and there's no way the goal that was conceded should ever have been scored. However, that's what the preseason is for: Working out the issues and fine-tuning the team all over the field.
Today, we'll see - or not see, in this case - United take on Jönköpings Södra IF, who currently play in the Swedish Superettan (despite the name, that's their 2nd division). It's become something of a tradition that United ends up playing a team from Sweden in the preseason, and the results have mostly been draws or wins for the Scandinavians. It'd be nice to see that corrected, especially since United will also play Malmö FF in a few days.
Kickoff Time: 4:00pm Eastern
Venue: IMG Academy training fields (Bradenton, FL)
TV/Streaming: Unfortunately United is not streaming the game, and as I write this I see no sign that Jönköpings will be streaming it either. Despite my being a fan of many Swedish things, I don't speak a word of the language, so that last bit may be inaccurate. If we find a legal stream, we'll direct you to it. If there are illegal streams, do not post them to the site.
If you're wondering: Yes, I am nervous about an unviewable game in Florida against a European team. Remember this fever-dream that ended with Andrew Dykstra injured for the season and a 3-0 loss? At least we won't hear about about men's rights law firms this time. Well, hopefully.
Projected D.C. United starting XI: There's been some talk about players who didn't appear against Orlando playing today. My guess is that Riccardo Anedda will get the start in goal behind a back four of Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Kofi Opare, and Taylor Kemp. In the midfield, look for Nick DeLeon and Chris Rolfe to man the flanks while Markus Halsti (who says he's playing today) makes his first appearance in central midfield. I'd like to see Dan Metzger round out the quartet, since he's going to have to prove he can play a bit higher up the field than he did at Maryland to see regular time in the typical 442. Up front, I think Ben Olsen will give Chris Pontius and Fabian Espindola another 45 minutes together to see if they're the viable option should Luis Silva not be ready to start against Alajuelense.
EDIT: Of course, who needs to project the lineup when United posts it 2+ hours before kickoff?
Match previews: There's not much out there - big surprise, with the team a two hour flight away from the people that cover it - but United has been keeping us up to date with practice reports.
Prediction: Jönköpings is a second division club, so if United fields a team with a lot of players in contention for starting roles this should be a win. We saw United put together about 10-15 minutes of good soccer against Orlando, and expanding on that should be the goal for today. Give me a 2-1 win, with goals from Espindola and David Estrada.
What are you drinking? Probably water or coffee. It's a 4pm game on a Tuesday, cut me some slack.
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