After playing far and away their best preseason game of 2014, D.C. United will look to keep going strong against the Charleston Battery, the hosts of the Carolina Challenge Cup. The Battery held a nearly first-choice Seattle Sounders team to a 1-1 draw for 88 minutes before a Brad Evans penalty kick gave the Sounders the win, so we can expect the Battery to be fired up. From United's perspective, this is a huge game for unsigned players like Victor Munoz and Reuben Ayarna, as well as a great chance for second-choice players to establish themselves as guys Ben Olsen needs to include in his gameday 18 to start the season.
Time: 7:30PM EST, give or take (depending on how quickly the Houston Dynamo and Seattle can get through their far less noteworthy game at 5)
Venue: Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston, SC
Live Streaming: This game will be live streamed at mlssoccer.com/live and dcunited.com/live. It is also available on YouTube. Why go to those places when you can watch it here with us? Don't you like us?
Previews: United's site has the customary video preview featuring Davy Arnaud and Chad Ashton, while the Battery's team site has the Charleston angle.
Projected D.C. United lineup: We've heard over the past few days that tonight will be far more heavy on reserves, so it's safe to expect a team similar to what we saw at the end of the win over Houston. While the 4132 from the weekend looks like United's best bet going forward, it'll be tricky to get minutes for the guys that need them the most playing that way.
As such, I expect a flatter 442 featuring Joe Willis behind a back four of Jalen Robinson, Steve Birnbaum, Conor Shanosky, and Taylor Kemp (with Chris Korb and Nana Attakora only just back from injury, I doubt either will play more than half an hour tonight). In the midfield, Jared Jeffrey should partner with trialist Ayarna while Munoz (right) and Kyle Porter (left) man the flanks. Up top, Conor Doyle and Michael Seaton will look to build on their strong showings against the Dynamo.
Prediction: Like I said, the Battery will be desperate to spring an upset after coming so close on the weekend. However, United has dominated the Coffee Pot Cup over the years, so I'm going with the Black-and-Red taking a 3-2 thriller. Hope the Three Lions Pub has something good on tap for the supporters who made the trip.
What are you drinking? I love a good ESB, but there are very few available (note to breweries: Develop your own ESB!!!). The best one I have regular access to is Fullers ESB, which is near perfect in balancing the sweet and bitter notes you want in an ESB.
As always, this is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game chatter.