Will this paring leave D.C. United shrouded in glory in Columbus?
After D.C. United's performance against the Houston Dynamo, everyone is asking questions. For example, when did Maicon F. Santos take off the spandex, put on the thick rimmed glasses, and don his Mike Sanders alter ego? How long has Robbie Russell been dealing with the foot injury of which none of us have heard? And why can't Emiliano Dudar get on the field, especially considering the recent play of United's defense?
These questions, and more, will be answered by Ben Olsen's lineup choices for this Saturday's game against the Columbus Crew. D.C. United will need to respond, having fallen to third place behind the MetroStars and Sporting KC, and will have to do it without their starting goalkeeper and with their second leading scorer in a rut. But as was preached to us in the offseason, the key to this time is depth. Come take a trip with me below the jump for the answer to the question on everyone's mind: Nick DeLeon or Hamdi Salihi?
It is time to give Maicon Santos a break. His performance over the past few games has not been up to the standard he set at the beginning of the year, and so someone else should be given a chance. His replacement depends on who you want to run out on the wings and up top. My thought would be to replace Santos with Hamdi Salihi and leave Pontius out on the wing; however, I could also easily see Nick DeLeon start on the wing, with Pontius moving next to Dwayne De Rosario. The tiebreaker goes to the fact that DeLeon cut off all of his hair and may have lost his powers, Samson style.
While everything stays the same in the midfield from this past weekend, the back five features three new starters. Joe Willis is the obvious one, with Chris Korb only slightly less obvious. After a performance that let in four goals, bringing back Emiliano Dudar would be an easy move to make. To be honest, I could see him coming in for either of the two center backs, but I want to see how he would perform with Dejan Jakovic. My brain tells me that Brandon McDonald is more likely to start alongside Dudar, but brain be damned! I'm sticking with my heart.
With this lineup, the subs would be Andrew Dykstra (sorry, no Charleston this weekend), Brandon McDonald, Maicon Santos, Nick DeLeon, Lewis Neal, Marcelo Saragosa, and Josh Wolff. What do you all see?