Games in May don't come much bigger than this. D.C. United and the New England Revolution have emerged as the Eastern Conference's top teams, and they face off tonight at Gillette Stadium. Both clubs are coming off of results they found hard to stomach, so it seems safe to expect two teams that are desperate to get back on track. A win for either side will see them finish the weekend atop the East, and depending on results out west could even mean first place in the Supporters Shield race.
D.C. United Projected Starting 11: It's going to be tricky picking this lineup due to the impending trip to Portland, but my sense is that United is going to put far more eggs in this basket. Bill Hamid will be in goal, of course, and after that I think we'll see a back four of Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Kofi Opare - I think Steve Birnbaum returns mid-week, incidentally - and Chris Korb. Korb gets the edge here because of the threat posted by Teal Bunbury on New England's right.
In the midfield, I think we'll see Nick DeLeon (who was quietly removed from the injury list a couple of days ago) and Chris Pontius man the flanks. Perry Kitchen and Davy Arnaud will start centrally, while up front we'll see Chris Rolfe and Jairo Arrieta.
Off the bench, look for Michael Farfan to come on for Arrieta after about an hour (with Pontius moving up front). I think we'll also see Markus Halsti come in at some point for Arnaud, and I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that new signing Facundo Coria replaces Rolfe at some point. Surprised that Coria is even in the squad? I am too, but it's been confirmed by a good source:
A huge shout out to my new team mate @facucoriamago -- nice to see him make the game roster for this 2 city trip. Give him a follow folks— Bill Hamid (@BillHamid28) May 23, 2015
Match previews: From earlier this week, Ben's lineup prediction is nearly the same as mine above, while we also predicted the Revolution starters this morning. Adam took us back to 2007 on Throwback Thursday, and our staff predictions are split between a draw or a loss (though most seem to expect some goals tonight). We also checked in with The Bent Musket in Behind Enemy Lines. Finally, our preview emphasized how important it is that Boswell is at his best tonight.
Elsewhere, Steve Goff's preview for The Washington Post focuses on Farfan, while Dave Johnson looks at United's clogged schedule. MLSsoccer's preview notes that the referee is Mark Geiger, so get ready for a #GeigerShow.
What are you drinking: I've got plenty of options for once, but am leaning towards Uinta Brewing's Baba Black Lager. However, since I didn't get much sleep at all last night, I may cancel that and go with coffee. Or both, who knows?
Prediction: I'm sticking with a 1-1 draw. The Revs will try to win the game early, knowing that they're going to get tired in the last half-hour. United's defense will keep them to a solitary goal, however, before scoring on a second half set piece. I'm thinking it's Boswell. I also think the Black-and-Red will come close to stealing three points before both teams kinda-sorta accept that 1-1 is what's happening.
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