DC United will open their season up at home tomorrow night against the Columbus Crew. After an off-season overhaul of players, DC United will field nearly a full starting eleven of players who were not on DC’s roster last season. After finishing with the worst record (3-24-7) in MLS history (previously held by Chivas USA with a record low four wins,) DC will be flying high. With a heavy veteran presence and a recently acquired trophy, DC United will start the season firing against the Crew.
DC United lost both of their matches against the Crew last season, but do not look for the trend to continue Saturday night. Columbus comes off an impressive 4-1 win over Sporting Kansas City with the Disney Pro Soccer Classic trophy and an undefeated preseason record in hand. Meanwhile, DC United comes in with the 2014 Carolina Challenge Cup trophy. Both teams will come into this opening day fixture confident that the three points will be theirs.
The Columbus Crew have built on a solid core that they had last season and brought in some exciting new players. United States national team defender Michael Parkhurst will take his place in the Crew’s backline along with the Costa Rican defenders Waylon Francis and Giancarlo González. These three new defenders will probably make their way into the starting XI to join Josh Williams at right back. The Crew will have the talented Wil Trapp and Tony Tchani anchoring the midfield with Fredico Higuain, Bernardo Anor, and former Galaxy man Hector Jimenez playing in front of them. Dominic Oduro will be the man up front for the Crew after a solid season in 2013 where he scored 13 goals.
As mentioned before, DC United will field a starting XI composed of nearly all newly signed players. You can expect goalkeeper Bill Hamid to return between the posts, but this season he will have an entirely new backline in front of him. DC has brought in a strong, veteran backline including left back Christian Fernandez Salas who has La Liga experience, along with a center back pairing of Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke, and the former Galaxy right back Sean Franklin. DC’s familiar players will slot into the midfield with Chris Pontius and Perry Kitchen returning to their roles with the club. MLS veteran Davy Arnaud will join them in the midfield. Playing in front of the midfield will be Luis Silva who arrived during the 2013 season from Toronto. He will be looking to feed DC United’s new designated player Eddie Johnson who will be starting up to for the black and red. Fabian Espindola, Nick DeLeon, and Conor Doyle will be other options in the attack for DC.
Ben Olsen will have his team ready to make a statement for the opening day of the 2014 MLS Season as he faces Gregg Berhalter and the Columbus Crew. Look for an exciting game that either team could grab, as both squads will begin to gel. The match will begin at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. at 7:00 PM EST and will be streamed live on DC United’s website (http://www.dcunited.com.)
Predicted Columbus Crew XI:
Anor Higuain Jimenez
Francis Gonzalez Parkhurst Williams
Predicted DC United XI:
Pontius Arnaud Kitchen DeLeon
Christian Boswell Parke Franklin
(image courtesy of dcunited.com)