MVP of the All Star Game Chris Pontius
Part of me is mad that Chris Pontius performed so well last night against Chelsea. His second half appearence, which won him the MVP trophy, saw him torch their defense on a number of occasions. The moment that sticks in my head is not the goal, which featured an assist from Dwayne De Rosario; its the moment where Pontius turns on the speed and blows by the Chelsea back line to put a cross right at the top of the six yard box. If Eddie Johnson had been awake, he would have easily put that one away and the game would have ended with the full class of MLS on display, and not on a somewhat flukey goal.
All of this is to say: Pontius, take it easy against Paris Saint-Germain. A few more of these types of performances might bring overseas suitors calling sooner rather than later, and I am not at all prepared for that to happen. Regardless of what I want, we will see a full strength D.C. United to start the game against PSG and play the first half. Then at halftime, that is when you sit De Rosario and Pontius immediately and experiment a little more. For more specifics, follow me below.
While Ben Olsen is going to run out a full strength lineup against Paris Saint-Germain, that lineup could take any of a number of different forms. However, with Branko Boskovic nursing an injury, I do not think that Ben Olsen will want to run him out for this friendly. Let him get fully healthy for the next league match, which is at home versus the Columbus Crew on August 4.
On the other hand, I think this is a perfect time to give Emiliano Dudar another shot, as long as he is fully healthy. Apparently he has not been performing well in training and that has prevented him from passing Brandon McDonald or Dejan Jakovic to get back into the starting lineup. Why not see what he can do outside of practice against one of the best strikers in the world in Zlatan Ibrahimovic? A good performance in this friendly might help him overcome his training form.
Finally, I want to see young players out there as much as possible, especially in the second half. Get Danny Cruz, Long Tan, Ethan White right at the beginning of the second half and keep Perry Kitchen and Nick DeLeon out there for the whole game. This is a great opportunity for them to see a team-wide level of talent not seen in MLS, even if they are only in preseason.
What do you want to see out of the lineup for this game? And how many minutes do you think DeRo will play, and how many do you want him to play? Oh, and while you doing it, take a look at this season's roster and then compare it to the team trotted out against Ajax last year.