Friday, April 13, 2007

DC United Preview: Home Opener vs. Wizards

Who: DC United vs. Kansas City Wizards
Where: RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:30pm, 2/14/2007

So the regular season is finally upon us. After playing in four CONCACAF Champions Cup matches and going 2-1-1, United kicked off their 2007 MLS season with a thud, losing to the new look Colorado Rapids 2-1 in frigid conditions in Dick Stadium in Colorado. Tomorrow is the beginning of the home schedule for United, kicking it off with an Eastern Conference foe, the Kansas City Wizards.

DC United appears to have a full roster heading into this match up, with Josh Gros claiming the mantle of "Head Gear" due to his concussion that he suffered against Chivas. Gros is expected to start tomorrow on the left, with Olsen on the right.

Kansas City get to start their 2007 campaign on the road, as they were the only club to sit out the opening week. Defender Nick Garcia is suspended for this match and Scott Sealy is probable. Other than those two players, the Wiazards should be at full "strength." I say that because any team that has Eddie Johnson in its starting 11 is effectively playing with 10 men. The Wizards have signed Argentinian Carlos Marinelli as of last Tuesday, but he isn't expected to get any time on the field, as his work permit isn't completed and his match fitness isn't there yet either.

I am excited about tomorrow night's match. Getting the two tastes of United home soccer during the CONCACAF Champions Cup did nothing but get me more and more addicted to soccer, so bring it on!

So how will United do? I am not sure. As the weather is expected to be just as good as the two home CONCACAF matches, I expect to see alot of guys losing their footing and several goals. What I want to see is two things:

- MVP get his game back. With the exception of the first match against Olimpia, Gomez hasn't been as much a force as he was last season. Yes, I am talking about five total games, but considering how huge he was in the first game this season (Olimpia) I reason to demand that MVP get back in the game. Once Christian gets back in the match, we will see a more dynamic attacking United.

- Our defense get its act together. Having the Chivas wingers and forwards run right bye then wasn't that fun to see, neither was having the Rapids wingers become playmakers because we couldn't get any type of control. The back three, along with Carroll and Simms or Olsen, need to ensure that they aren't over extending themselves. Facundo needs to really start to reign in he flailing stabs and Bobby really needs to regain his composure and get back into providing more support for Namoff and Erpen.

Once these two things start to get worked out, we should be seeing a much different DC United out there. Hell, if we only get the offense back on track, we should be able to outscore anyone we play.

My Prediction: DC United 3 - 1 Kansas City Wizards*
* - Anyone named Wizards in DC right now can't win, so Kansas City should continue that trend.

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