After taking care of business over the weekend against Toronto, DC United now faces the much more difficult task of welcoming the Red Bulls down to RFK. The Red Bulls are following the classic New York style of building a team: buy all the star players you can get and don’t worry if they actually fit together. It worked out pretty well for them last week, even without Juan Agudelo playing, and so their offense will put some heavy pressure on United’s young back line.
DC United also looked very good last week, with their 3-0 thrashing of Toronto FC. I am especially excited for the return of the Party Boy, Chris Pontius. I also think that Ben Olsen and United have finally solved the question of in which position does Pontius belong. He has locked down the left midfield spot, over United’s designated player, and has built open the form that he showed in his rookie season. Hopefully there won’t be any more calls for Pontius to return to the forward lineup, even though ESPN’s FC Manager still lists him as a forward (yes, I tried to pick him up for this week).
I expect the lineup to be similar to last week’s, with the except of right midfield; I do not think that Fred will get another start. It could be either of Santino Quaranta or Andy Najar: ‘Tino provides the hustle and hard work that will be necessary to disrupt RBNY’s attack, but a more aggressive style of play will be needed in this game. I think that with Pontius and Najar bombing down the wings and with Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies pinning back RBNY’s slow centerbacks, United actually has a decent chance to come away with a result.
So, who is that lineup again?
Korb Jakovic Kitchen Burch
Najar McCarty Simms Pontius
Can United escape without giving up a counterattack goal or a Dejan Jakovic brainfart or a rookie defensive mistake? I think that they can and that they can show all of MLS that they should be taken seriously this year. 2-1 to United, and the first step towards bringing the Atlantic Cup back to DC.