Over the weekend, D.C. United logged a huge win at home, but they’re in no position to put their feet up. Tonight against Columbus Crew SC, the Black-and-Red will have to carry on with their good form at RFK Stadium or risk undoing all the good that 4-1 thrashing of Orlando did. The Crew, long thought of as having no chance of a playoff spot, have resurrected their hopes with some recent wins, and probably will approach this game as one they cannot afford to lose.
With the firepower both teams have and stormy conditions in the forecast, there is a significant chance that we see another high-scoring game on East Capitol Street.
D.C. United projected Starting XI: I’m not expecting much rotation at all for United, which means Marcelo’s injury is the only obvious change. That means a 4141 featuring Bill Hamid in goal, and a back four of Nick DeLeon, Steve Birnbaum, Bobby Boswell, and Taylor Kemp. Rob Vincent will sit deep in the midfield, with Lamar Neagle (Lloyd Sam was wincing after getting kicked last week, so I could see giving Neagle a start here) and Patrick Nyarko on the wings. Luciano Acosta and Julian Buescher will set up in central midfield, with Patrick Mullins up front.
Off the bench, United would probably love to get a 2-0 lead again so they can bring Kennedy Igboananike or Alvaro Saborio in to give Mullins a break. I also suspect that Luke Mishu will come in again if United is leading, with either DeLeon coming off in a straight swap or possibly Acosta or Buescher coming out (with DeLeon moving into the midfield). If Sam doesn’t start, he’ll probably come in for Nyarko. Travis Worra, Jalen Robinson, and possibly Collin Martin - for the first time this season after recovering from a foot injury - should round out the bench.
Match previews: This morning’s preview, aside from TV and streaming info, talked about Buescher’s role as a starter. We also made some educated guesses at who will start for United and for the Crew, and unanimously predicted a win tonight.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
What are you drinking?: Tonight is one of those ticket + beer promotions, so I’ll be having a beer that feels like a free beer even though I did pay for it. So probably Tecate. Tecate flavored with rain water.
Prediction: I’ll go with what I said yesterday. Nyarko will get United out in front, but Justin Meram (who always seems to score against DC) will score against DC to send the game in at halftime tied 1-1. It’ll be nervy from there due to the conditions, but Mullins will strike yet again, and Igboananike will get his first goal in stoppage time as the Crew throw everyone forward. 3-1 DCU.
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