The 18th home opener is upon us. Seems like just yesterday — actually April 20, 1996 — that D.C. United played its first MLS match at RFK Stadium, a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy that dropped its inaugural record to 0-3. (Long live Sterling Wescott.)
For your pregame reading enjoyment, my print story examines United’s attendance problems in recent years and tactical business changes entering this season.
Cool video from DCU: The beautiful simplicity of a soccer field.
The game-time weather outlook from the Capital Weather Gang is very nice for early March.
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m.
TV: None locally. No blackout for Direct Kick and MLS Live subscribers. You’ll receive the Real Salt Lake feed.
DCU injuries: GK Andrew Dykstra (head) and MF Lewis Neal (groin) are out. MF Raphael Augusto (knee tendinitis) is doubtful. GK Joe Willis (foot) will back up Bill Hamid. In addition, Dwayne De Rosario is serving the second game of his two-match suspension.
I am expecting Ben Olsen to field a more attack-oriented lineup than the 4-5-1 that labored to sustain possession last weekend in Houston. Look for Marcos Sanchez to start on the flank, opposite Nick DeLeon, and Chris Pontius to join the frontline with Lionard Pajoy. Either John Thorrington or Marcelo Saragosa would sit out.
An offensive approach would also suggest a starting backline mirroring the second half last weekend: James Riley at right back and Chris Korb on the left.
Official lineups and subs to come about an hour before kickoff…..
DCU: Hamid; Riley, Korb, Jakovic, McDonald, Korb; DeLeon, Kitchen, Thorrington, Sanchez; Pontius, Pajoy. Subs: Willis, Russell, Woolard, Porter, Saragosa, Ruiz, Rafael.
RSL: Rimando; Beltran, Schuler, Watson-Siriboe, Mansally; Velasquez, Beckerman, Stephenson, Gil; Findley, Saborio. Subs: Saunders, Salcedo, Palmer, Alvarez, Stertzer, Plata, Sandoval.
Your pregame, in-game and postgame thoughts are welcome in the comments section.