Even before the Andy Najar red card forced Ben Olsen's hand, changes were going to come to the D.C. United lineup. With the Najar red card, we did not get to see the extra subs Olsen would have inevitably made, giving me a little less insight into his mindset going into the return leg. But there is one thing that we all know for sure: the New York Red Bulls are there fore the taking.
I thought that, for once, Lionard Pajoy's dispossessions were less on him and more on the fact that there were no teammates anywhere close to him any time he got the ball. He would hold the ball up and wait, hoping that someone would get up into the attack. We have already seen that Chris Pontius can torch Connor Lade whenever and wherever he wants, so flank play is not a problem. However, if the team wants to play through the center like that, and we all know that Brandon McDonald does, Pajoy will need some support. Therefore, I came up with the following lineup.
I am going to predict for this game the same formation that I predicted for the first game, save Robbie Russell coming in for Andy Najar. Even though he is now back practicing at full speed, I do not think that Daniel Woolard will get the start, especially with the way that Chris Korb has been playing. Were this any time but the playoffs, it would be a no brainer, but Robbie Russell has MLS Cup experience, something which was sorely lacking on the field on Saturday. If Robbie Russell is playing, Woolard definitely will not be, since there is absolutely no way that Olsen would change both of his fullbacks.
As for the substitutions, I shall be bold. I think that Joe Willis, Hamdi Salihi, Branko Boskovic, LEWIS NEAL, Emiliano Dudar, Daniel Woolard, and Dwayne De Rosario will make up the bench. And I think that regardless of what happens, we will see DeRo come in for the last 15 minutes of so, since the team will either be pushing for a goal or trying to get him some match fitness going forward.
One note, for those of you who have not yet seen: this match will be refereed by Mark Geiger. Make of that what you will.