The first game of the season is always exciting. But fans in Kansas City have so much more to be excited about than just the first game after a long winter.Consider:When you arrive at CommunityAmerica Ballpark this evening, chances are you'll drive right by the construction site for the new soccer-specific stadium. If you've not been in a while, the progress might stun you. It will open next year, and Kansas City will have the best soccer-specific stadium in the Midwest.When you see the team that takes the pitch, the changes from last year also might surprise you. There are nine new players (10 with Sunil Chhetri) in the squad. But it's deeper than that. An increased emphasis on fitness and some new formation tweaks are aimed at bringing a high-octane attack to the pitch. Early signs from camp? It worked. Let's see if it can be as entertaining as they promise. If you factor in the inevitable World Cup bounce, it's hard not be brimming with excitement.The only question: Can the team on the field actually match the excitement of the fans?Well, that, and "Why does it have to be gorgeous on Friday and rain on Saturday?"
GAME DAY WEATHER
According to the latest fromNBC's Gary Lezak
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the rain should fall fairly heavy between 3 and 5 p.m. and then pick back up (with some thunder) around 8 p.m. Ugh.
BEST GUESS AT FORMATION4-4-2: The Empty Bucket
-----------------Nielsen---------------------The Seven Subs:
Kronberg, Kamara, Bunbury, Hohlbein, Aiyegbusi, Jewsbury, Rocastle
TODAY'S REFEREEKevin Stott
Stott did not ref a Wizards game in 2009, but he was the referee for the MLS Cup in 2009. The last time he was in charge for a Wizards game was the3-1 victory over New England
to end the 2008 season. That game saw two red cards go against the Revs.
DOUBTFUL: MF Birahim Diop (knee contusion); PROBABLE: FW Davy Arnaud (ankle sprain); MF Roger Espinoza (anklesprain)D.C. United:
OUT: GK Josh Wicks (L dislocated shoulder, MCL sprain); DF Bryan Namoff (post-concussion syndrome); DF Marc Burch (R foot surgery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Devon McTavish (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Clyde Simms (R knee surgery)
I have a better feeling about the Wizards rebuilt attack than the national media does, but that's because I've actually seen them play. I also think United's make-shift defense will be their undoing. So, I'm going with a very optimistic result:Wizards 2 (Myers, Wolff), United 0* *Originally, I thought it would be 3-1 or 3-2 like that, but a muddy pitch should clog the attack for both teams.
SONG THAT GETS ME PUMPED
My love of soccer is only matched by my love of Kentucky basketball. But soccer live > non-Final Four basketball on TV. Especially since DVRs are the greatest technological development ever. So...
What's your prediction? Have at it in the comments...