On Saturday, DC United will face west coast juggernauts LA Galaxy in their forth game of the 2011 campaign. DC lost its first two away matches of the season, but triumphed at home in the season opener. LA has played four games this season, winning two and tying another. L.A. appear less sharp than was anticipated before the season started, after the much ballyhooed acquisition of Juan Pablo Angel from New York Red Bulls.
DC will be fair better than in the games against either Colorado or the Revolution, playing at home and getting Dejan Jakovic back (after serving a red card suspension) in a frozen stadium at altitude. Perry Kitchen is also expected to get the start, shore up the defense after the U-20 US men's national team was eliminated from the U-20 World Cup qualifier. Cornerbacks March Burch and Chris Korb are certainly up to the task, but less clear is what coach Be Olsen will do in midfield since Chris Pontius and Andy Najar both played in Wednesday's Open Cup match. While Pontius was subbed in during the second half, Najar played the entire game and whether he's able to recover in time for Saturday remains to be seen.Bill Hamid is expected to start in goal, in his first official MLS game since September.
L.A. Galaxy on the other hand intend to come in to RFK stadium to teach the black and reds a lesson. They may do that too. David Beckham played one of his best matches ever in MLS last week. After improving fitness over the last few games, coach Bruce Arena shift Beckham from the right wing to central midfield where his skill, experience and vision are far more valuable than on the wing. Landon Donovan is also expected to start on Saturday despite sitting out practice earlier this week.
Prediction. DC United can get three points out of this game, despite playing against a solid team. The return of Perry and Jakovic could not be soon enough and if Hamid is in form, it will be very difficult for the Galaxy to score. Expect to see week 1's starting line-up, despite Najar's mid-week 90+ minutes, but he will also be subbed-out during the second half in return for Santino Quaranta or Branko Boskovic. Charlie Davies should also make his return to the field this week, but not until the second half. Expect a fierce midfield battle between Donovan and Beckham against Clyde Simms (also back from injury)and Dax McCarty. Final score this week will be a 2-1 victory against Arena's usual tough defense.