Help us, Branko-wan Kenobi, you're our only hope!
After getting soundly thumped against the Montreal Impact, D.C. United return home for another Atlantic Cup game against the hated New York/New Jersey MetroStars. And after asking you before the last game what your preferred starting 11 was for the rest of the season, I think I am ready to reveal mine. Well, until I change my mind again.
Thankfully, this team should mostly be the one that takes the field this Wednesday in Fort RFK, barring players currently injured. While their form on the road has been poor, D.C. United is still undefeated at home since the first game of the season. The team will more of that home magic to stifle the likes of Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, Sebastian LeToux, and Kenny Cooper. Who will try this task? Find out below.
This is obviously based on the players currently available: obviously Daniel Woolard will walk back into the left back spot when he is healthy and I think that Maicon Santos will get another run out at target forward when he is healthy. And when Robbie Russell is healthy, he will at least prevent Mike Chabala from starting.
I cannot really explain why I prefer Dejan Jakovic over Emiliano Dudar. Part of it is because Ben Olsen will not bench Brandon McDonald, so the center back pairing we saw against the Seattle Sounders will never be seen again. And I know that Jakovic makes me feel more nervous, while Dudar brings a sense of calm. But, especially over the past few games, the team plays defends better when Jakvoic is on the field. It is just a gut feeling, no basis in any real analysis.
While I was an outspoken advocate for the empty bucket last week, this team does need Branko Boskovic to perform at the highest level, like he did in the weeks up to his contract being signed, for this team to really reach its potential. And you know what? I think he can do just enough defensively to make sure the midfield isn't overrun; now let's hope he can turn back on the magic left foot.