Friday, October 13, 2006

DC United Preview - 10/13/2006

DC United vs. Chicago Fire
5:00pm Sunday,10/15/2006
RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

So this is it, final match of the 2006 MLS regular season. DC United, Eastern Conference (Regular Season) and Supporters Shield Champions, are hosting the USOC Champions, Chicago Fire. These two clubs are currently 1 & 3 respectively in the Eastern Conference and are playoff bound.

United coach, Peter Nowak stated a couple of days ago that the two final matches of the season are like pre-season matches for him, he is using them to build towards the playoffs. Well, United, while looking good in the first 45 minutes and scoring a goal, failed their first “pre-season” test with a 2-1 home defeat to the New England Revolution, the current #2 seeded club in the East. Hopefully whatever it was that Coach Nowak was “trying” in that match, has been tossed or has been fixed, because having to sit through another 90 minutes of the type of form and play that I witnessed for the last 45 minutes of the match, things will be worse.

With this match in mind, with the playoffs and a road trip to either New Jersey or Kansas City in store for United for their first match of the playoffs, I am torn between what should be done Sunday night. One side of me wants to have the normal starting line-up out on the pitch for the first whistle, play balls to the wall and put out the Fire. Knocking off Chicago, who I feel are the most dangerous side in the Eastern Conference, would be huge for the players mentality and will work wonders for their outlook towards the post season.

On the other side, I remember several a United match in which I saw Ben Olsen, Jaime Moreno, Freddy Adu; all look gassed by the 76th minute mark of several matches, and to head into the playoffs without proper amounts of rest, for this team, would be a mistake. So having guys not start, or not play more than 45 minutes or 60 minutes, might not be a bad thing, with the big picture in mind. With that, I suggest the following line-up for Sunday nights match.


Erpen – Bozilla – Namoff

Olsen – B. Carroll

Donnet – Gomez – Adu

Dyachenko – Head Gear

Have these guys start, giving Rod, Adu and Olsen all 45 to 60 minutes of work. Give Ben a warm spot on the bench, a cup of hot cocoa, and have Clyde Simms start the second half. Have Jaime replace Rod at the 60th minute as well as Josh come on for Freddy around the same time. Giving Ben only 45 minutes will go along way towards stretching his play into the playoffs. On the flip side of that, giving Clyde 45 minutes will help him as well. Have Jaime and Josh come on for the last 30 minutes to recharge our attack. Gros to run like a wild child up and down the left side of the field, causing problems and having Jaime come in to work with Christian on the creativity in the attack.

I was truly impressed with how Jaime came on in the second half against RBNY and basically took over the game. Granted, that was against the Bulls, and anyone coming on in the second half could have controlled them, but Jaime looked like he was Jaime of old in that match, and if playing the last 30 minutes helps his form, I say do it again.

Anyways, it is the season finale and the final whistle marks our march towards a fith star and “One for the Thumb.”

Prediction: DC United 2 – 0 Chicago Fire


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