D.C. United plays Sporting Kansas City this weekend, and we are very confident about their chances. Too confident? We shall see. Let us know what you think will happen in the comments!
United is off to their best start in team history, and they've done this while battling injuries and suspension. Meanwhile, Sporting has been making things very hard on themselves lately. Call me mad crazy, but with just about everyone back practicing, it's time to see what this team can do at full strength. I think what we see is: total domination. Give me goals by Espindola (2) and Rolfe, give me a Bill Hamid clean sheet, and give me a 3-0 Black-and-Red Hulk smash of Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City has some flashy offensive weaponry - Dominic Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber, and Krisztian Nemeth - with Graham Zusi feeding them from the sides. Guess how many goals they scored on United last season, as a team, after the usual three-game series? Zero. Nada. Zilch. For all their prowess, SKC's offense is no match for Benny ball in the backfield. Their goal drought versus DC United will continue tomorrow night. Espindola and Pontius score. DCU wins, 2-0.
KC's forwards are strong, and their midfield is too (especially with Benny Feilhaber in great form right now), but that's a challenge United has mostly been up to. Last week showed United could control the pace of the game even while only having 43% of possession, and against KC that will again be critical. It won't be the same exact challenge - KC wants to play a hectic game, whereas the Crew were trying to stay more composed - but it's one United is up to. Plus, half of KC's defenders and their goalkeeper (whoever it ends up being) are not starters on any respectable team. 2-0 United. I have a feeling that Michael Farfan gets the second goal, and Chris Rolfe maintains his point-scoring streak with at least one assist.
All they do is win, win, win no matter what... United keep the ball well enough to avoid the fatal mistake, and keep things even in the midfield, allowing big moments to define the game. United take theirs, while the Sporks run into Bill Hamid. 2-0 to the Black-and-Red.
I'm in a bit of a quandary. On one hand, D.C. has every reason to expect that they should beat the Sporks as the bodies get healthier and finding (or rediscovering) their collective groove again. On the other hand, I've also picked D.C. to lose to Columbus and get throttled by Vancouver the last two weeks. So I think I'll respect the streak > using my head and pick Sporting Kansas City to win 1-0, and if the "you never know" factor of MLS kicks in, I'll be chesty. And disappointed.
I have a hard time seeing United come away with anything but a win here. The Black-and-Red are feeling it right now, and nothing that SKC has on offer at the moment is too much for this team to handle. I'm expecting a tight defensive display with two sharp moments from Espindola and Rolfe to give it to the good guys, 2-0. Feilhaber mullet + stache are no match for the Magic Headband.
United is running on a pretty good unbeaten streak, but SKC has feasted on their old friends in the East so far this season. Despite that, I think that United can get it done and kickoff the meatgrinder section of May with a 2-1 win.