With around 20% of the season already gone, D.C. United remains a work in progress. They have had a couple solid games, and a few more where they were good only at times, and a few outright poor showings. Their opponent today, the New England Revolution, should not be able to share that feeling due to a very familiar roster, but they also look like a team that needs more time to gel. Both sides have just one win this season, making today's game feel a bit more high pressure than a normal late April match. However, United will have to get the job done without head coach Ben Olsen, who was suspended for entering the field of play in last week's loss.
D.C. United Projected 11: Given Olsen's backing of most of what his players did last week against TFC, it seems like the same lineup will get another game together. That means Travis Worra in goal, Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum, Bobby Boswell, and Taylor Kemp as the back four, a midfield quartet of Patrick Nyarko, Marcelo Sarvas, Nick DeLeon, and Lamar Neagle, and Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola as the strike pairing.
I'm going to just blindly hope that Luciano Acosta is the first sub in this game. The idea, if Acosta isn't going to start, should be for Rolfe to give 60 hard minutes and then to let Acosta loose. Alvaro Saborio will probably get 15-20 minutes up front. Rob Vincent will probably replace one of the wingers, with Neagle the more likely to play the full 90. Jared Jeffrey, Kofi Opare, Luke Mishu, and Tally Hall are, most likely, the rest of the bench. It might be nice, though, to see Olsen find room for Julian Buescher.
Match previews: Yesterday, we took a look at what we expect from the Revs in terms of a starting lineup while also wondering exactly how secure United's normal eleven is at this point. This morning, we offered up an overall preview (which includes TV listings) before moving on to some specific tactical points that United will be trying to follow.
Referee: Alan Kelly
What are you drinking?: I will be turning up to Lot 8 with some cans of Creator/Destroyer, an espresso brown ale made by Oliver Brewing out of Baltimore. It's a collaboration with Ceremony Coffee, who roast their beans about 200 yards from where I played high school soccer in Annapolis.
Prediction: Pure hunch on this one: Neagle pounces on a poor clearance midway through the first half to give United a lead, but Lee Nguyen equalizes before halftime from the penalty spot. However, United buckles down and gets a much-needed three points thanks to a Birnbaum header off of a free kick. 2-1 DC.
This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.