For D.C. United, the 2016 season has gotten off to a frustrating start. A good effort in Mexico was thrown away in the final 20 minutes, while letting Queretaro score in the 4th minute settled their CONCACAF Champions League affairs in an unfortunate manner. The Black-and-Red bounced back with a very solid first half in LA, only to give away four avoidable goals after halftime. Today against the New England Revolution, getting things right for 90 minutes will be a key.
Like United, the Revs enter the game with reasons to be frustrated. A road draw against Houston was an adequate result on paper, but New England gave up some very sloppy goals and were largely outplayed by the Dynamo. A splendid game from Diego Fagundez was largely why New England could go home with a point instead of the loss they deserved. Both MLS originals will be looking to do better in their first conference match of the season.
D.C. United Projected 11: I expect to see the lineup United fielded after halftime in LA, save for the injured Andrew Dykstra:
Andrew Dykstra did not travel with D.C. United. Back spasms. Worra or Horton to start.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 12, 2016
Given that United was burned the last time they tried to field a goalkeeper who hadn't played a competitive game in months, I think Travis Worra gets the call in goal over new signing Charlie Horton. He'll be behind a back four of Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum, Bobby Boswell, and Taylor Kemp. Lamar Neagle will take over for Patrick Nyarko on the right side of midfield, with Marcelo Sarvas, Nick DeLeon, and Chris Rolfe retaining their spots. Luciano Acosta will play underneath Fabian Espindola, who would return to the starting lineup.
From the bench, I think it's safe to expect Rolfe to be replaced by Rob Vincent sometime around the hour mark. I also wonder if Espindola can go 90 minutes on turf given that he reportedly had a sore hamstring last week, so let's assume Neagle moves up front, leaving right midfield to Miguel Aguilar. The last sub? Probably Julian Buescher, partially due to Ben Olsen's effort to keep giving the young German more minutes to aid his development.
Update: Here is the starting 11 for the game:
Match previews: Our lineup prediction from earlier this week is slightly different from the above guess, and we also took a look at who the Revs will probably start. Our match preview talks about the importance of DeLeon while also telling you what channel to watch the game on. Earlier this morning, we laid out a list of things United has to do to come back to the District with a result.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
What are you drinking?: Most likely, I'll be drinking some Gordon Biersch Belgian Tripel (got a growler filled Thursday), but I could also go with Birdhouse pale ale from The Brewer's Art up in Baltimore.
Prediction: I was unimpressed with the messy attempts at defending New England did last week, but then I'm also skeptical about United's new midfield being able to slow the Revs down as they've done in the past. I think we'll see a game with numerous scoring chances at both ends, but I don't think the finishing will be as sharp as LA's was. Give me a 1-1 draw that will feel like it could have been 3-3. Chris Rolfe scores for United, while Lee Nguyen scores for the Revolution.
This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.