DC United v Real Madrid, pre-season friendly, August 9, 2009
DC United will be inspired by history when preparing themselves for Real Madrid on Sunday night. Back in the summer of 2006, the MLS franchise took on Los Merengues in the Spaniards final game of their US tour, and the Americans impressed in a hugely competitive affair that saw an Antonio Cassano opener cancelled out by Claudio Reyna in a 1-all draw. (Watch here.)
2009 Real Madrid though are a different animal altogether. Dripping with superstars in every position, coach Manuel Pellegrini is spoiled for choice in almost every position. This could well prove Real’s achilles heel in the long run, with the biggest fear facing Pellegrini being how manage all the over-sized egos in the Real dressing room should certain people become disgruntled with sitting on the bench.
Looking to dodge these issues before the season starts, Pellegrini will most likely opt to chop and change his team during the 90 minutes in the States.
Cristiano Ronaldo (10/3 to score first), after being effectively deployed in a wide-left position in the against FC Toronto on Friday night, will be looking to net his fourth goal since arriving in Madrid against DC. Alternative attacking threats will also be present across the rest of the midfield with Kaka, Raul, Xabi Alonso and Arjen Robben all expected to get playing minutes in the exhibition match.
Up-top it appears that Karim Benzema (4/5 to score) is being primed to be the main-man at the Bernabeu, although after the Frenchman played over an hour in the previous match on the tour, current bench-warmers Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Negrado will be chomping at the bit to prove their striking qualities too.
Tom Soehn brings his DC United team into the match after experiencing a sticky few months in the MLS. Although they hold third place in the Eastern Conference, the Red and Blacks trail the Colombus Crew and Chicago Fire by five and four points respectively, and their recent form of just one win in their last six outings offers no suggestion of an upturn in the near future.
DC United’s main clutch is that they are an aging squad.
At 35-years-old, legendary Bolivian striker Jamie Moreno (7/2 to score) remains DC’s first choice striker and captain, having scored six goals in 14 matches so far this year. Five-years Moreno junior, experience Brazilian forward Luciano Emilio (10/3 to score) will also lead the Washington forward-line.
Filling out the rest of the team are 30-years-old defensive rock Bryan Namoff, 32-years-old midfield general Ben Olsen, and 34-year-old ex-Argentine international Christian Gomez. The leaves a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of Clyde Simms and Chris Pointus (11/2 to score) , but against one of the best teams in the world big hearts are simply not enough.
Expect another win for Real, and the tip of the day is to bet on Raul (10/11) to score.
101predcits: DC United 0 - Real Madrid 3 (9/1)
Full match odds here.