Friday, July 28, 2006

DC United Preview 7/28/2006

DC United vs. Real Salt Lake
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Saturday, 7/29/2006 9:00pm EST

So, after a very interesting week where we all saw DC United pump up their chests about how their season ending 4-0 obliteration at the hands of the Chicago Fire would serve as inspiration and motivation for their match at Toyota Park, only to come out flatter that the salt flats and steal a 1-1 draw with the Fire, we arrive at this weekends match with Real Salt Lake. Why do I get the feeling that this match might be one of those where we get run over? Weak team hosting league powerhouse, with a marquee match-up looming on the horizon for the league powerhouse?

The next three matches that DC United will have are against RSL, the Columbus Crew (USOC) and the friendly against Real Madrid. The Real Madrid match is what worries me, not the actual match, but the fact that since it is up against such a huge club and hopefully the United players are not looking towards that and flub up the other two matches, the ones that mean something. When you know that you are playing Real Madrid, how can you get excited to face RSL and the Screw?

Anyways, back to Saturday's match. If United does not have a mental fart and look beyond RSL, this could be a good match for United to exercise some demons from last week. Last week they were run off the field by the Fire. If Logan Pause didn't completely have his head explode for 10 seconds, United would have probably dropped their second match of the season. Instead, Pause lost his marbles and thought he was in the NBA. Alecko got a really crafty goal and they crawled out of the Camry with 1 point. This week United needs to step on the pitch and show us the return of the United squad that beat the Crew 5-1, who beat RBNY 4-1 and who have pitched 7 shutouts this season.

RSL are 1-2-2 in their last 5 MLS matches, and just blew a 2 goal lead on Wednesday night at home against Chivas USA. DC United owned RSL last season, winning 5-1 at home and 3-1 at Salt Lake, and with the club playing even better than they were last season, I see no reason to at least put 2 goals on the scoreboard Saturday night. RSL currently have nine guys on the injured list, with two only being probable, Eddie Pope being one of them. One point of interest is that two of their players, Jeff Cunningham and Andy Williams are both 1 caution away from a suspension, and as they are central figures on this club, their play tomorrow night might turn out to be less than stellar in hopes of avoiding picking up their next cards. One way that Chicago stifled United last week was through very physical play, for RSL to do that, these two guys will need to do their parts, which could lead to a spot on the bench for the next league match. Jason Kreis is two cards away, so he too might be less than physical. On the flip side of this, Bobby Boswell, Bryan Namoff and Ben Olsen all are 1 card away from getting a spot on the bench for the RBNY match, so they too will have to watch out.

Speaking of Benny, ever since he returned from Germany, he has seemed to be a little more...pissed off. Peter Nowak pulled him from the Crew game that Alecko picked up his straight red because Nowak felt Benny's yapping at the ref's would get him a second yellow and get tossed from the match. He has picked up some rather stupid cards lately, namely the one last week against Chicago. Have him talk to Dr. Phil or something. Get the guy laid, whatever it takes to calm his midfield ass down.

Back to this Saturday's match, I see no reason for this being the 14th W on the season, after all, they are playing RSL. United should leave with the 3 points and return to the District for their USOC match Tuesday night against the Screw at the Maryland Soccerplex.

Prediction: DC United 2 - 0 Real Salt Lake


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