Both D.C. United and Toronto FC have had a slow start to the season. United, adjusting to a brand new midfield and upheaval in goal, finally put together a strong 90 minutes against Vancouver last week on their way to a cathartic 4-0 win. TFC, meanwhile, has started 2016 with an eight-game road trip. The Reds started off the season with a win against the Red Bulls - yes, I intentionally made a choice to bring that up - but since then they've had two draws and two losses, and last week's 1-1 draw against the Revolution saw them notch their first goal in three games.
United will be looking to prove last week's win was no fluke, but they'll be facing a full-strength opponent for the first time in a few weeks. Last week was fun, but today is going to be a stiffer test.
D.C. United Projected 11: Coming off their first win, we are not going to see a change in the lineup unless someone gets hurt in the warm-up. That means Travis Worra in goal, Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum, Bobby Boswell, and Taylor Kemp making up the back four, a midfield of Patrick Nyarko, Marcelo Sarvas, Nick DeLeon, and Lamar Neagle, and a forward pairing of Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola.
Luciano Acosta did so much with his minutes last week, and it seems that he needs to enter the game earlier (either in pursuit of a goal, or to force TFC to worry about what happens when they throw numbers forward trying to hunt down an equalizer). Alvaro Saborio is in a similar situation after last week's 2 goal performance, and will probably get 10-20 minutes. Rob Vincent or Miguel Aguilar will contend for the substitute winger role, and whoever wins the job will probably be the third sub. Jared Jeffrey, Kofi Opare, Luke Mishu, and Tally Hall are, most likely, the rest of the bench.
Referee: Mathieu Bourdeau (who has just 1 MLS game under his belt)
What are you drinking?: Some of you will know by the time this posts. I'm bringing some kind of Maryland beer to the B&RU meet-up, but will probably have a sampling of various things.
Prediction: TFC has figured out how to be a solid enough defensive team, but I like United's chances to get themselves another win. United will control the opening stages, only to concede to Giovinco just before halftime. Rolfe strikes back early in the second half, and Acosta ends up setting up the game-winner for Neagle as the Black-and-Red win 2-1.
This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.