It's a little early in the preseason to already be on our second (made-up) derby, but today D.C. United and Malmö will contest the first-ever Markus Halsti Derby down in Florida. For United, it's the final match of the first leg of camp; they'll fly back to DC after the game. It's also the biggest test by far, as Malmö is the defending Allsvenskan champion and was recently battling it out in the UEFA Champions League with Atletico Madrid, Juventus, and Olympiacos. Sure, they lost five of six games there, but the competition was maybe slightly tougher than Waterhouse and Tauro. It's still a great test to finish the Florida portion of camp with.
Kickoff Time: 12:00 noon EST
Venue: IMG Academy training fields (Bradenton, FL)
TV/Streaming: So here's the thing: IMG said this last night:
As I write this, Twitter reports 524 retweets, so it looks like they'll set up a camera and stream the game. They haven't confirmed doing so yet, but the Swedes seem to think it's a done deal:
Matchen DC United - Malmö FF kommer att streamas! Vi har fått länkarna och en nyhet gällande detta kommer på MFF.se senare ikväll/natt— Malmö FF (@Malmo_FF) February 5, 2015
Pay close attention to this one, as it appears to be a situation where we won't find anything out until after this publishes. It looks like we're going to have video here, though. Fingers crossed. When we know what's going on and where the video can be found, we'll update this post.
EDIT: United has confirmed the game will stream at dcunited.com/live.
Projected D.C. United starting XI: We're only 20 days away from playing what will be one of the biggest games of the year, so I expect an emphasis on a stronger team for at least the first 45 minutes. That probably means Fabian Espindola and Chris Pontius up front again, and we should expect to see Nick DeLeon and Chris Rolfe play for a longer period of time in the wide midfield roles. I'm also expecting another start for the duo of Markus Halsti and Davy Arnaud. In the back, look for the right-to-left group of Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Kofi Opare, and Taylor Kemp to start again. In goal, it's probably time to give Riccardo Anedda some minutes if his trial is actually a real trial.
Match previews: The Swedish press is covering this one pretty thoroughly. Expressen has an interview with Halsti as well as a general wrap of what Malmö has been up to since arriving, while Sydsvenskan was talking about new signing Magnus Wolff Eikrem. Both sites say they'll carry whatever stream IMG makes available.
For their part, Malmö has already announced their starting eleven for the game (the Adu in question is Enoch Kofi Adu, not Freddy):
Startelvan till imorgon: Olsen - Tinnerholm, Johansson, Helander, Yoshi - Adu, Lewicki, Eikrem - Sana, Rosenberg, Berget.— Malmö FF (@Malmo_FF) February 5, 2015
They've also said that they'll make seven subs at the hour mark. Weird given that secrecy is largely preferred in MLS.
Prediction: United's record in this semi-regular pairing doesn't feature a win, and those years we weren't playing a "fresh off the UEFA Champions League" version of Himmelsblått. On the other hand, we have a good record of doing well once we sign a starter away from a foreign club right before playing them (Luciano Emilio and CD Olimpia back in 2007). I think we see yet another preseason draw. 1-1, with DeLeon finishing off a rebound for United's goal.
What are you drinking? Black coffee. I look forward to playing games during beer-drinking hours.
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