It was that kind of night for Ben and the boys. (Bob Levey/GETTY IMAGES)

We’re playing Houston again? I thought there are 19 teams in the league now; this feels like the early days of the league, when you’d play New England 12 times and New York 10, one game against the Crew thrown in somewhere, and that was your season. It feels like it’s all Montreal and Houston this year. And why do we have to go to Houston’s brand new stadium twice? Is MLS trying to rub our noses in it? After our last visit to Houston, I made a joke about leaving an upper-decker in the bathroom; I didn’t realize that we had to come back. That would be an awkward visit.

Teams often play well for a new coach; does the same concept apply for new majority investors? I hope so, because this is United’s first match since Erick Thohir entered the ownership group. Maybe there’s a sliding scale: new coach = 90 minutes of all-out hustle. New majority investor = 45 minutes of general hustle. New travel director = two extra slide tackles. New staff assistant in the media relations department = big smiles during the pre-match photo.

Tonight’s lineup: Hamid | Woolard, Jakovic, McDonald, Russell | Pontius, Kitchen, Cruz, Boskovic | De Rosario, Santos. I would argue that we have 14 players who deserve to start (Najar, DeLeon, and Salihi are the other three). Maybe 15 or 16 (Willis and Dudar). That’s where you want to be.


Bill Hamid earned an early walk of shame. (Bob Levey/GETTY IMAGES)