I met RSL Ben about 6 years ago when we became roommates at Southern Utah University (GO T-BIRDS!). Oddly enough we lived with another Ben, making 3 total living in the same house, and a Joe and a Mike. There might have been a time where we tried to give nicknames to differentiate between the Bens but not until the Ben Cup could we attach DCU and RSL to our names and know for sure who was who. While we lived together we both liked soccer, but had not yet let the MLS into our hearts. We parted ways after one semester but we always kept in touch. Luckily I married a girl from Utah so I could visit
Last year when I found DC United (introduced to me by El Goleador, second picture down), I naturally wanted to introduce my new friend to RSL Ben. Little did I know that he had also found a new love in RSL. Let's just say that our new love interests did not get along. After the penalty kick fiasco, RSL Ben started to talk trash about how they wouldn't need the referee to win at RFK. I was sure that we would get a result at home without a problem so I countered his trash with a little of my own. We text messaged each other through (what would become the second leg) the second match and the Ben Cup was born. Unfortunately all DC could put together was a Freddy free kick and I had to concede the first Ben Cup on aggregate.
On to a new year and a new cup. DC United has the opportunity to go up big in the first leg of Ben Cup 2007. The Black and Red come into Rice-Eccles Stadium riding their 7 game unbeaten streak and looking to extend it to 8 before Copa America wreaks havoc on the roster. This is a game we should win which always worries me. RSL is the worst team in the league. There is no getting around that fact. Unfortunately they were also one of the worst last year and still beat us.
Due to the Ben Cup I tend to watch as many RSL games as possible to size up the competition. I also pull for them in most other games, especially now that Esky is there. The defensive breakdowns and lack of midfield control are extremely frustrating. However, last week against FC Dallas I felt as if the turf itself was keeping them from winning. They put together some decent attacks but the ball was untrappable, especially for Adu. RSL will be out Adu (U-20 World Cup) and Chris Brown (their recent goal maker, injured) and I'm guessing Klein as well (traded to LAG). It will be interesting to see if the newly acquired Sturgis and Findley will have any affect on Saturday's game. They can't possibly be a negative for them.
Usually I don't do predictions but as my co-founder made the request I will take a shot at it.
DC 3 RSL 1
DC goals by Gomito, Fred, and Erpen, from distance of course
RSL goal by Esky who will love to score another against us
Thanks to D and JCM for Ben Cup shout outs.
Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.11
1. We give ourselves a nice lead in the Ben Cup race; at least 2 or 3 goals. By the way, away goals mean nothing. Except maybe scoring on that ping pong table in Salt Lake should count double for both teams.
2. Kpene (hopefully healed) shows us he can start in place of Moreno for the long haul; we need a third striker that can get the job done.
3. RSL Ben gets good seats to see the game on his birthday.
4. Erpen scores from distance.