Saturday, July 4, 2009

7/4/09: Crew vs. DC United Preview

This picture includes two of the six starters combined that will miss today's contest because of injuries and Gold Cup duties. Marshall is with the national team preparing for Grenada and Emilio will be out with a bone bruise. (Pic by: Jay LaPrete)

Apoligies for the delay on this preview. I was up until 7 a.m. this morning finishing a tifo and I just got up a little bit ago. I'm definitely ready for game day though.

Hopefully, the Crew are as well, as DC United will be a stiff test with first place on the line. The Crew have clammored their way back to the top of the table after a poor start and going into today's game all that seperates them from United is one point. That one point comes from a tie in the one more game that United has played. DC United who were really hot in the beginning of the MLS season, are starting to do the opposite of the Crew and slow down. In United's last time out, DC were destroyed 3-0 surprisingly on the road by Colorado and Pat Noonan. The Crew have been shaky as late as well with a 2-1 defeat at Dallas, followed up by just limping past New York 1-0, and the reserves getting beat in Rochester in PK's.

However, with DC United extremely rested(had a bye the previous week) and Columbus's starting eleven not risked in the Open Cup, both sides should be ready to give 90 minutes today. I expect a tough battle because Columbus doesn't want to give up their 19 game home unbeaten streak and DC United doesn't want to give up first place. Also, it's rivals on 4th of July in front of a packed crowd on ESPN2, doesn't really get much better than that.

LINEUPS: The Crew are getting healthier by the day. The only player injured on the whole Crew lineup is Adam Moffat, who should be back in a few weeks. However, the Gold Cup has acted like two hamstring injuries for the Crew, as Rogers and Marshall will be gone from the team for a good month with the USA national team.

My best shot at a lineup is,

Columbus Crew: William Hesmer - Frankie Hejduk, Eric Brunner, Danny O'Rourke, Gino Padula - Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll, Kevin Burns, Emmanuel Ekpo - Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Alejandro Moreno.

DC United will also be hurt in the Gold Cup as Dejan Jankovic will be on duty for Canada and Santino Quaranta will be joining Rogers and Marshall on the USA squad. On top of that, DC United will have Emilio and Moreno out for this game(big blow and equally big opportunity for the Crew). So, overall the Crew will be missing two starters while DC United will have to make due without four, two being their strikers. Also, Fred said he would play, but will not likely be 100% percent with an adductor strain.

My best shot at a DC lineup is,

DC United: Milos Kocic - Greg Janicki, Brian Namoff, Marc Burch - Ben Olsen, Clyde Simms, Rodney Wallace- Christain Gomez - Chris Pontius, Boyzzz Khumalo

Still not a bad lineup. Rookie Chris Pontius is a definite scoring threat and could give the Crew trouble if him and Gomez have a good game.

RESULT: The injuries have seemed to hurt DC United as of late, as United was whipped by the Rapids on the road. A weekend off hasn't made United any healthier, and actually DC will lose two more players now to the Gold Cup. I think that it's just a case of too many people out for DC United and they will not have enough firepower to get past the Crew at home. Crew win 3-1.


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