Monday, July 31, 2006

DC United Preview (USOC) 7/31/2006

DC United vs. Columbus Crew
US Open Cup 4th Round
Maryland Soccerplex, Germantown, Maryland
7:30pm 8/1/2006

How better to get back on the horse after a match like Saturday's 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, then to start the campaign in a knock out tournament? DC United have not won the US Open Cup (USOC) since 1996, getting knocked out last season on penalty kicks against FC Dallas after letting in a late tying goal. United have claimed that this is one of the things that they are focused on for this season. Will they actually play like it?

With United only having about 3 days inbetween the RSL match an the USOC match, a lot of people will be sounding off for the starters to rest and let mostly the reserves start and play the match. I disagree with that approach. As this is a "major" US soccer championship, DC United should take every one of these matches as important matches. The Real Madrid match is, especially after the loss to RSL, is a match that we need to only play half a game with our starters. The Real Madrid match result will not help us win the USOC; will not help us win the Supporters Shield; will not help us win the MLS Cup. Based on those thoughts, we should use that match for the reserves.

The match tomorrow against Columbus should have all our starters, except maybe Troy, on the field. Start this line-up:

Bryan Namoff - Bobby Boswell - Facundo Erpen
Freddy Adu - Brian Carroll - Christian Gomez - Clyde Simms - Joshua Gros
Jaime Moreno - Alecko Eskandarian

Have Benny come off the bench for late game midfield control. We have collapsed late in the last couple of matches, each one Ben has been pulled from the game in the second half. Have John Wilson come on as against RSL, he should be able to recover from the RSL match and do what he needs to do. Jamil should come on for Jaime, around the 60 minute mark.

I have faith in Peter Nowak that he will get the squad up for this match. The players are too good for them to let themselves to be beaten twice in a row. If United want to be the dominant club of US Soccer, then the USOC should always be in their trophy case. United should always be in the finals of this tournament.

I hope the United side that we have seen for most of the season: the strong defense, good passes, well composed; returns to form for this match.

Prediction: DC United 1 - 0 Columbus Crew


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