Last night, D.C. United and Real Salt Lake got nearly a half-hour into their game when lightning strikes in the area forced a delay. So be it, we’ve been down that road before. The storms arrived...okay, some rain, we’ve all endured rainy games. And then the heavens opened up, dumping untold thousands of tons of water directly onto the playing surface at RFK (and probably other places).
While an attempt was made to wait for the field to drain, there was simply too much rain, and even as fans streamed out of RFK, lightning strikes could be seen pretty easily in the distance. Could the teams have stayed until midnight or so and tried to play on a still soaked but technically playable surface? Sure, maybe. But instead, the game will restart exactly where it ended (a United corner kick and 28:06 on the clock) and with the score at 0-0. It’s gonna be weird, fam!
Questions about tickets, parking, or anything along those lines: Read United’s post about it.
Key player: Paul Arriola
What did we learn in the opening 28+ minutes: RSL made a concerted (and largely successful) effort to push United to their left side, where they had a less technically adept and less experienced fullback and less goal-dangerous winger paired up. D.C.’s passing map underlines this:
However, the one time Sean Franklin saw a chance to overlap, he and Arriola created danger right away, and in general United was just starting to show signs of breaking this pattern in the final five minutes before the stoppage.
Other notes: First, United’s defensive shape was more 442-esque than it usually is. Whether this was a one-game tactic, an attempt to simplify things for the new guys, or a plan for going forward remains to be seen. Second, RSL’s center backs succeeded in making their battle with Deshorn Brown more about Brown’s ability to post up and be strong than it was about Brown’s speed. That needs to tilt the other way for the Black-and-Red. Finally, the gap between RSL’s defensive and attacking midfielders was opened up repeatedly, and United should be looking to exploit that more often.
Location: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (Washington, DC)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
D.C. United starting 11: (4231) - Bill Hamid; Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum, Kofi Opare, Chris Odoi-Atsem; Marcelo Sarvas, Jared Jeffrey; Paul Arriola, Luciano Acosta, Nick DeLeon; Deshorn Brown
Bench: Travis Worra, Jalen Robinson, Chris Korb, Russell Canouse, Julian Buescher, Bruno Miranda, Patrick Mullins
Fun fact: Per league rules both teams must field the exact same eleven that the game ended with and the same bench, unless there are injuries between now and then.
Real Salt Lake starting 11: (4231) - Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman, Sunny Obayan; Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnak, Joao Plata; Luis Silva
RSL’s subs are Lalo Fernandez, David Horst, Danilo Acosta, Luke Mulholland, Brooks Lennon, Sebastian Saucedo, Yura Movsisyan
Referee: Drew Fischer
Available TV: NewsChannel 8 and regional affiliates (check the link for the over-the-air alternate channel in your area), but not CW Richmond in RVA (there’s a schedule conflict).
Available streaming: MLS Live (with no blackout radius, we think!)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What are you drinking?: Without having a second game to cover beforehand, I might grab some tacos somewhere and grab a bottle of Jarritos to go with it.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos quick field drainage!