DCU-United Preview, From Esky
Because it's been a while....here are Alecko Eskandarian's thoughts on tonight's playoff showdown at RFK Stadium.
"Whoever scores the first goal tonight is going to win, for sure," he said. "If Chicago gets a two-goal lead, it's going to be pretty tough. If D.C. scores first, with that home crowd behind them, I think they'll pull through. Like I told Benny, D.C.'s the best team all year long, but playoffs are a different animal. It's all about who's willing to fight, and to be honest I don't know how many guys D.C. has that are willing to fight, and we'll find out tonight. It's not a knock on them, but that's where D.C. is gonna miss a guy like Josh Gros, who's one of those guys that even if he's not playing his best game, he's gonna fight till the end. And that's what you need in the playoffs. D.C. has way better soccer players, but it's tough to play soccer when the other team's beating up on you."
He actually compared this to the '05 series against Chicago,with the disastrous 4-0 loss at home. Esky missed that series due to his injuries, but he said back then he had privately worried that United "didn't have enough [bleeps]" on the roster to counter the Fire.
I've been trying to get in touch with a visiting member of Section 8, the consortium of Fire supporters that, if nothing else, has some tremendous names (Arsonists? Just great). I've failed thus far, but the point is, they put on a pretty good show last Thursday. I asked Esky if Chicago's fans were better.
"Not a chance," he said. "As far as crowd energy and craziness I've got to give it to Toronto. Insane, sold out, and they were all young. All their fans are college kids and hot girls. It's like the cool thing out there, and everyone's jumped on the bandwagon. As far as support and loyalty, I've got to give it to D.C. United. I don't even play there, and they still give me love. Chicago, don't get me wrong, they have awesome fans and maybe because I haven't played for them I don't know enough about them, but D.C. is awesome."
His prediction tonight? United in overtime. Nick Rimando's prediction? No answer, other than "I just hope Benny scores."
I also just talked to "The Captain" from the Barra Brava, which already has about 150 people out in Lot 8, plus "a big giant box of meat." The Barra apparently have some highly prized banners prepared for tonight, so highly prized that only four people know the contents and said contents are off-limits for the media. "An incredible display," The Captain promised. "Just trust me, it's that good."
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