Troy Perkins on dcunited.comTroy Perkins with an outlet pass. Photo from (Martin/ via

I always get a little giggle when I write the word “Wizards”

Teeheehee. See there I go again.

Anyway, DC United plays tonite against the KC Wizards at RFK Stadium in front of what is likely to be a near sellout crowd. According to Goff yesterday, advance ticket sales were over 19,000. The bad weather (highs in the 50’s, cloudy, rainy) is likely the only reason we won’t see a sellout. Watch the game on FSC (ch 242 on Cox) at 7:30pm.

First, lets recap the last two games right quick. United lost both of them. They lost to Chivas in Mexico 2-1, in a VERY hard fought game. And then the went to Colorado where they haven’t won in like 5 years and… well, they lost. 2-1. Again.

In the Chivas game, DC United did MLS proud. They stood toe-to-toe with Chivas, arguably the best of the Mexican league, and even took a lead late in the first half. They held possession, defended well, and took advantage of their one good chance to score the goal. They played so well that Chivas’ own fans whistled them at points in the first half. But alas, like the famous saying from some movie which I can’t remember “Don’t shoot him. It’ll just make him angry” once United scored, Chivas game out on fire and quickly tied up the game. Then they took the lead early in the second half. United almost tied the game up twice late in the game, but couldn’t quite finish.

Lessons learned from this game? Well, as I said in the preview for that game, “if Simms or Olsen starts on the wing, we will lose”. Well, Simms did, and we lost. We really need a good winger and coupled with Gros getting a concussion early in the first half, we were really deficient in that area. Then Soehn took a page out of Nowak’s playbook and made an awful substitution. OK, maybe not quite awful, but it certainly didn’t help any.

The game in Colorado was a disaster. With Gros out (precautionary due to his concussion) we started two young wingers. Justin Moose and Stephen Deroux who had a combined zero starts between them. Needless to say, Colorado ran rampant behind them, causing the outside defenders (Erpen and Namoff) to have to stray far from the middle. The resulting accordion effect with defenders sliding over, midfielders Ben Olsen and Brian Carroll dropping in to cover left major holes all over the place. As a defense you never want to be on your heels, and on their heels they were. Both goals had the shooters wide open.

OK so now, we’re up to tonite’s game. Gros is expected to start, so that solves part of the problem. But who starts on the other wing? Clearly, at lest to me anyway, Fred is not a winger. But he has to start sooner rather than later. If he’s not ready I expect DeRoux (likely) or Moose to start. This is a big problem spot as the rest of the lineup is real solid as long as we don’t get any injuries on defense. Also, Carroll hasn’t been playing well lately, so maybe Simms takes his spot.

From the KC perspective, they’ve got a rookie Aaron Hohlbein from Middleton starting in central defense next to US Nat Jimmy Conrad. Conrad will probably help the young guy out unless he really sucks, so it is up to United to get the kid in 1v1 situations and make him make decisions. Here’s his quote according to this article:

“I’m a little nervous, but it’s the same thing as it’s always been – you’ve just got to go out there and play your best and that’s all you can really do,” Hohlbein said. “But yeah, thinking about it, going to RFK and playing in front of, they’re saying 25,000, it’s going to be a little nerve-rattling.”

Yeah, we’ve GOT to take advantage of that.