We are finally on the eve of Sporting KC's first ever game of 2012 as DC United will welcome Sporting KC to RFK Stadium tomorrow at 6:30 pm CT for what should turn out to be an interesting fixture. Last season Sporting KC won both games they played against DC United 1-0.
However this weekend's opener could prove to have a higher scoreline than last year's two games. Because as good as Sporting KC is in attack, DC United is right there with them. For every CJ Sapong, Kei Kamara, and Teal Bunbury we have, DC United has Dwyane de Rosario, Salihi, and Andy Najar to match Sporting KC's firepower. In the defense however is where Sporting KC is superior to DC United. Collin and Besler will anchor the back line for Sporting and attack-minded fullbacks Myers and Sinovic will round out an impressive defense.
At this early point in the season it can be difficult to tell what each team's tactics will be. But I can already tell you that this game may just be decided on which midfield can control the center of the park. With key midfielders Paulo Nagamura, Graham Zusi, and Julio Cesar all carrying slight injuries going into the game on Saturday night there will probably be a selection dilemma for Peter Vermes. I expect he will have a midfield three of Espinoza, Zusi, and either Luke Sassano or Michael Thomas. Of course, that is all subject to change depending on the severity of Cesar's and Nagamura's injuries.
Predicted Starting Lineup
GK: Nielsen RB: Myers CB's: Collin, Besler LB: Sinovic CM's: Zusi, Espinoza, Sassano LW: Convey ST: Sapong, RW: Kamara
Prediction: Sporting KC 3 - DC United 2
Like I stated earlier, both teams have really good attacking players and this game could be one of the best fixtures of the opening weekend for the neutrals watching around the league.
DC United Player To Watch: Hamdi Salihi
DC United's new number 9 and new DP Hamdi Salihi will be looking to open up his account early this season and put a couple of goals past Nielsen. The Albanian has been nothing short of prolific in his goalscoring over in Europe in past seasons.
Here's some Sporting KC players and staff previewing this weekends game: