With Columbus Crew SC coming to RFK Memorial Stadium this Saturday, we decided to ask our panel of writers how they think United will fare. Needless to say, we are (mostly) bullish on United's chances. Tell us what you think will happen in the comments!
With a 15-game home unbeaten streak on the line, United starts out slow and flat. The cross country trip from last week coupled with a week of practice where a lot of players were not at 100% contributes to the team taking about 20-30 minutes to get their legs under them. Then, after a Columbus goal early, the Black-and-Red take flight. Goals from the hotter-than-a-firecracker Chris Rolfe and Fabi put DC United ahead. Unfortunately, a late Kei Kamara goal leaves the fans wanting more, though with a 2-2 final, the home unbeaten streak moves to 16.
You have to figure that, with the returns of Markus Halsti and Davy Arnaud to full training, Fabian Espindola and Luis Silva to the field, and Michael Farfan and Chris Rolfe to our hearts (plus talismanic starters like Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon, who never left), the RFK practice field is going to be as competitive as it's been in a long time. Every one of those guys is going to want to show Ben Olsen why he belongs in the starting XI. I think that fire will - at long last - carry over to kickoff, and United will - at long last - come out of the gate flying. An early goal from Fabian Espindola, and another Chris Rolfe strike put our boys up 2-0. The defense and Bill Hamid do the rest to see out a clean sheet against the highest-scoring team in the league this year.
D.C. United playing a 4-1-3-2 last week in their win against the Vancouver Whitecaps did two things: one, it gives the team newfound tactical versatility and it allowed for solid performances by new additions (Michael Farfan) and old (Perry Kitchen). Two, it leaves me without an earthly idea of how they'll roll out this week against Columbus, particularly if Davy Arnaud is ready to go. I feel like Columbus will win 2-1 despite a goal from Espindola, but honestly, don't listen to the dope who thought D.C. would get smoked last week.
DCU are returning to full strength at a time when they'll need all of their depth--May and June are busy, busy months, and this game against the Crew (sorry, Columbus Crew SC) is just the beginning. Coming off the unexpected win against Vancouver on the road last week, I think the guys are feeling confident, especially back at RFK. Give me a goal from Espindola (we missed you, Fabi) and another from Rolfe to continue his hot streak for 2-0 to the Black-and-Red.
It's still early in this season, but Columbus thus far have not been particularly good on the road. In three road games, they've scored just two goals (both of those at Vancouver), but they have managed two draws and one loss in those games, because they have only allowed three goals. Contrast that against their home form (3-1, 10 goals scored, 3 allowed), and you're suddenly very happy that this game is at RFK. Kei Kamara is hot right now, scoring contributing a goal and an assist in each of his last two games, and he's scored four goals over his last four games, so I see a 1-1 draw, with Kamara and Espindola the scorers.
Much has been made of the Crew's supposed success against United in 2014. That's despite United, if not for a last-gasp defensive error and a botched Panenka, nearly winning 2 of the 3 games. I think United is up for finishing the job this time. 2-1 DCU, with Espindola scoring twice.
I submit my prediction in haiku form:
Men's jon smoked yellow.
Who's got Arrieta now?
Game over, crew boys!
DC wins 2-1. Goals by Espindola and Arrieta, who will come in for Pontius late in 2nd half.
After going cross country and beating the Vancouver Whitecaps, anything is possible for D.C. United. Why not go with a 2-1 victory for the good guys to extend their unbeaten streak to give games? Goals by Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola.