Friday, October 20, 2006

DC United Preview: The Playoffs

DC United vs. Red Bull New York
10/21/2006 2:00pm EST
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

"It has Begun!" - Shang Tsung, from Mortal Combat.

I figured that the quote and the source of the quote sorta fit the situation. Then again, "Let;s git it on," from Celebrity Death Match might have worked as well. Nah, the only celebrities in this match are The Bitter One and the Cosmo Kid, Bozilla.

So DC United starts the playoffs at RFK North, the Swamplands of Jersey... Giants Stadium. Facing RBNY seems almost destined, as these two clubs have such a rich history together and the RBNY coaching staff all seem to have United jersey's stuffed away in their closets. As these two clubs duke it out every season for the Atlantic Cup, which United just recently secured with a 2-0-2 record, add the USOC Quarter Final 3-1 victory over the Bovine of the Big Apple and you have a great match up.

Thank god United are facing the Red Bulls. With the funk that we have been in, it seems like the only club we know how to handle and know how to score on in RBNY. Seeing us put 4 goals on the board against them at RFK several weeks ago was a very good thing, minus the 3 that we let in, it would have been a great match indeed. That said, I think that this is the best matchup for United at this time. So lets get into this.

Some feel that the match will hinge on the fact that Giants Stadium has field turf and that should neutralize the United attack. The field turf didn't seem to bother United when we dropped 4 goals on them the first time we went up there. Granted the second trip up was a more even affair, some even said that the Bovine looked stronger than the Black & Red in that match. I don't buy it this time around.

DC United will have its full, first team on the field for first time since about August. I have got to believe that regardless of how bad they screwed the pooch in the final two matches, (the Houston match doesn't count, Ching's goal was an act of God) the ass whipping that Chicago gave us at home last year in the playoffs has still got to sting. I would almost imagine Ben Olsen to have the press clipping in his locker, sort of like Rocky in the fourth movie had the picture of Ivan Drago on his mirror. Keep a constant reminder of why you are working and you never lose focus.

Getting back to the game, I don't see how RBNY are going to be able to truly neutralize every threat that United has. We are going to score goals. The only problem I see is are we going to gift them soft goals like Guevara's goal in the USOC match? Boswell, Erpen, Namoff, Carroll and Olsen had better shore that back line up in front of 2006 Panasonic Goalkeeper of the Year Troy Perkins. Olsen will be the defensive key, as he will need to ensure that Guevara doesn't get a chance to do anything creative with the ball, and by doing so, cutting the head off of their attack. If Olsen does his job, then the rest of the club should be able to do their job and we leave the Swamp with a win.

Prediction: DC United 1 - 0 Red Bull New York


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