We spoke to Ben Bromley from SB Nation's DC United site, Black and Red United and asked his three questions about the team and the match this weekend. He sounded about as buoyant as a fan of a team in the drivers seat should.
tBG: With DCU winning the USOC last year and now performing so well in the league and CCL, what has the mood been like around the capital? Could this be the birth of a new DC dynasty?
B&RU: I wouldn't call it a dynasty yet, but I think that D.C. United have a good corps of young players surrounded by savvy veterans. However, the next challenge that Ben Olsen faces is whether or not he can build on the success of one year and continue that success over a number of years. I think that he has grown a lot as a coach, and has learned from the disaster that was 2013, as has general manager Dave Kasper. But if United can get this level of production (or more) from players like Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Luis Silva, Kofi Opare, Steve Birnbaum, Samuel Inkoom, Taylor Kemp, Chris Korb, and more, the team will be on a good footing for the next few years.
tBG: How has the off the field drama left the fan base feeling about the team in general? Is this a team of mercenaries built to perform for one season or has the experience that was brought in helped bring some fledgling youth players forward?
B&RU: I think that the veterans that D.C. United brought in, especially on defense, have really been key to developing the younger players on the team. Steve Birnbaum and Kofi Opare could not ask for better teachers than Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke, both of whom are noted for their soccer intelligence and ability to read the game. Davy Arnaud and Perry Kitchen have immediately developed a relationship, and Kitchen has taken another step in his play this year; it might have happened without Arnaud, but I am sure Arnaud has helped. And young attacking players like Luis Silva, Conor Doyle, Michael Seaton, and Nick DeLeon can only benefit from the experience of Chris Rolfe, Fabian Espindola, and Eddie Johnson.
Not to mention the fact that players like Chris Rolfe, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Johnson, and Fabian Espindola are still young enough to play in DC for a couple of years.
As for the off the field drama, it is what it has been for the past 10 years. With a possible resolution in the next few months, the fans are noticeably on edge; however, this has not affected anyone's support of the team that I can see.
tBG: Who would you like to play first in the playoffs and why?
B&RU: For me, it has to be the MetroStars, just because beating them in the playoffs is always the most fun. If they fall out of the playoff hunt, then I would probably want to play the Columbus Crew. There are some good 2012 memories against them, even if other years they have proved a thorn in the side of D.C. United.
Line up and prediction
Lineup: Bill Hamid, Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp; Samuel Inkoom, Davy Arnaud, Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius; Fabian Espindola, Luis Silva
Prediction: At home, I will take a 2-1 victory for United.
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