Our collective soccer gluttony continues tonight, as D.C. United closes out a farcical 5 games in 15 days stretch at home against Toronto FC. The Reds have kept their heads well above water despite their own strange schedule - 3 at home against 8 away due to BMO Field renovations - and in Sebastian Giovinco feature a player that should be in any debate concerning who MLS's best player is.
Still, both sides will be short a few regulars. United hasn't really had a full squad all season, so that's no major surprise. TFC, meanwhile, comes to town without Michael Bradley and almost certainly without Jozy Altidore as well (not to mention less famous names like Steven Caldwell). Can United keep their home unbeaten streak alive despite heavy legs?
D.C. United Projected Starting 11: The injury report indicates that Taylor Kemp and Chris Pontius are out again, but Bill Hamid is not on the list at all. I expect him to return in goal, with Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, and Chris Korb across the back. In the midfield, I think we'll see Nick DeLeon on the right, Perry Kitchen and Davy Arnaud in the middle, and Chris Rolfe - back from suspension - on the left. Up top, Fabian Espindola will partner Jairo Arrieta.
From the sub's bench, look for Conor Doyle or Facundo Coria to replace DeLeon on the right after about an hour, while the other will sub on for Espindola in the ten minutes that follow. We could also see Franklin subbed off, as he's had to log a ton of minutes lately due to United's lack of healthy defensive depth. Depending on how things are going, that might not be possible, as Markus Halsti may be needed to help clog the midfield if TFC is pressing for a goal late.
Match previews: We wrote up a projected TFC starting lineup, remembered the recently retired Dwayne De Rosario's great performances for United against TFC, exchanged questions with our friends at Waking the Red, and unanimously predicted a win for the good guys. Finally, here's our gameday preview.
Elsewhere on the internet, Waking the Red's preview is here, while our other friends in Toronto (what can we say, we're very popular up there) at Vocal Minority posted a preview that features Gary Busey. Over at the Washington Post, Roman Stubbs finds United feeling optimistic despite the constantly changing lineup.
What are you drinking: As is often the case, I'll be picking something up on my way in. I'm leaning towards a Pale Ale.
Prediction: I expect the team's star players to exchange goals - this time, United scores first - before yet another set piece goal for the Black-and-Red makes it 21 straight games at RFK without a loss. I'm thinking Espindola and Boswell get the goals.
This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.