Game: D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union
Date: Saturday, August 6th
Time: 5:00 PM
Venue: RFK Stadium (Washington, DC)
Referees: REF: Jair Marrufo, AR1: Andrew Bigelow, AR2: Jose J. Da Silva, 4TH: Jaime Herrera
Television: The Comcast Network (Philadelphia area), NewsChannel 8 (DC area)
Streaming: MLS Live
All-time record: With a 1-0 win in May and a 3-0 win in July, the Union have drawn the series level in MLS play at seven wins each with three draws.
What Philadelphia will look like: The Union were among the biggest movers at the end of the international transfer window, sending talisman Sebastien Le Toux to the Colorado Rapids while acquiring Alejandro Bedoya from Nantes and Charlie Davies from the New England Revolution. While both men will be available for selection, I think Davies is the more likely candidate to get any minutes. That being said, I’d be shocked if either men started - Davies has played 15 minutes since April and Bedoya hasn’t played competitive club soccer since the middle of May.
As for the starting lineup, look for Andre Blake to start in front of a back line of Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Josh Yaro, and Keegan Rosenberry. Look for Brian Carroll and Tranquillo Barnetta in the deep midfield with Chris Pontius, Roland Alberg, and Ilsinho in the attacking midfield behind CJ Sapong. Barnetta is listed as questionable with an abdominal strain, however he should be ready to go against United.
What D.C. will look like: United will be without several key players. Goalkeeper Charlie Horton (hand injury), defender Chris Korb (right ACL tear), midfielder Collin Martin (foot injury), midfielder/forward Chris Rolfe (concussion), and forward Alhaji Kamara (right hamstring injury) are all out injured, while Marcelo Sarvas is out due to yellow card accumulation.
Bill Hamid will start in goal for D.C., while the back line will most likely be Taylor Kemp, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, and Sean Franklin. Jared Jeffrey will most likely drop back to be the lone defensive midfielder in D.C.’s 4-1-4-1 with Sarvas suspended. Look for a formidable midfield of Kennedy Igboananike, Luciano Acosta, Nick DeLeon, and Patrick Nyarko behind Patrick Mullins.
What to expect: Who honestly knows? With as many new faces and variables, this is as much of a mystery as any game since perhaps the season opener. Both the Union and D.C. have been on three and five game winless streaks, but I don’t see this one ending in a draw. I think the Union’s roster continuity will pay dividends and should be enough to push the Union over the hump.