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D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union MLS TV/streaming, previews, prediction, lineup and gamethread

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The Black-and-Red could move up to third in the East with a win tonight, but a loss could see them out of the playoff places

The second half of the 2016 season officially begins tonight for D.C. United, who will play the Philadelphia Union in their 18th of 34 regular season games. The Black-and-Red have been neither good nor bad this year, showing enough mental strength to avoid a losing streak yet not enough to start a winning run. Despite that pattern that stubbornly keeps United mid-table, though, they can get within two points of the supposedly successful Philadelphia Union.

What can you say? MLS is a funny league.

D.C. United projected starting 11: Don’t expect any major changes. Look for Bill Hamid to remain in goal, while the back four will see one change: Steve Birnbaum should return to central defense, with Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, and Taylor Kemp in their customary spots. Marcelo Sarvas will be the midfield anchor underneath the same midfield quartet that played last week (Lamar Neagle, Luciano Acosta, Nick DeLeon, and Fabian Espindola). Alvaro Saborio will get the start up front.

Off the bench, things could be harder to predict. Jared Jeffrey came in last week and scored in stoppage time, while Patrick Nyarko was upgraded to questionable after dealing with a concussion for a few weeks. Lloyd Sam has joined the team, and it looks like he’s in the 18 as well:

It would also be less than surprising to see Alhaji Kamara and/or Julian Buescher get into this game. Someone on this list might not be included, as Ben Olsen will probably make room for Travis Worra, Kofi Opare, and Jalen Robinson on the bench as well.

Match previews: We looked into the likely Union lineup, focused on Sabo’s importance in our game preview, and predicted...well, not a loss, anyway.

Referee: Sorin Stoica

What are you drinking?: As of this writing, I am out of beer, so I’m leaning towards a gin rickey. It’s not as hot as it has been lately, but it’s still pushing 90.

Prediction: I’m going with the same thought process spelled out in our predictions post. The Union aren’t in great form right now, but they’ll be better now that CJ Sapong is back. However, I think that United has enough about them to snag a road point. Sapong and Saborio exchange goals in a 1-1 draw.

This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.