Friday, July 14, 2006

DC United Preview 7/14/2006

DC United vs. Columbus Crew
Saturday, 7/15/2006
RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Once again, United gets to play the Crew. This is the final MLS season meeting between United and the Crew, United are currently 2-0-1 against them, having won the last two matches with a combined score of 6-1. United are on a 12 match unbeaten streak, 13 if you count the mid-week friendly against Celtic, which United won 4-0.

Columbus has won only once in their last 8 MLS matches, losing 3 and drawing 4. Like United, the Crew were in action over the mid-week with a third round US Open Cup (USOC) match against the Michigan Bucks, which they won 4-1. Their victory sets up a fourth round USOC match with...DC United. United will be hosting the Crew at the Maryland Soccerplex on August 1st.

Even with the match at mid-week and Esky having to sit due to anger management issues, I don't see this match really being any different than the last few United has played. If anything, the fact that our starters were able to get a good amount of time in against Celtic and our offense found the back of the net often, the confidence levels should be such that we end up attacking with more spirit and energy. Jamie was in LA to watch the Espy's, so he should have fresh legs as well.

The biggest point of confidence is that we seem to have a bench that is deeper than I thought. Our reserve players, granted they were against a pre-season Celtic that were player some prospects, showed the type of composure and ability that some 1st team players in other MLS clubs have. It shows that United can really sub in any of our reserve players and they will still get the job done. This will be pivotal in the later stages of the season.

Peter Nowak will have to start giving some of our starters more and more time off the field to ensure that they stay fresh for the MLS Playoffs and possibly for the USOC. Having guys from the reserve squad who can step in and do as good a job as some of the starters, gives Nowak the flexibility to rest guys and rotate the roster around. The possibilities are endless.

Anyways, as I said, I don't see the Crew doing anything different, United will need to be sure to shut down Ngwenya and Sebastian Rozental seems to have found his assist skill, having three against the Bucks. If United plays its defense as it has the entire season, Perkins is strong in goal, as he has been for several weeks now, we should have no problems.

Prediction: DC United 2 - 0 Columbus Crew


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