After a disappointing 1-3-1 start this year, its pretty clear that our offense will be the difference between a
Stoke-City questionably play-off worthy finish, based on playing defense strength and grinding out 1-0 games, or coming back with the May form last year that made us so deadly. But in order to do the latter, DC will need to re-acquire its offensive style.
With injuries coming at an important momentum-gaining time of the season, Benny will now have to rely on unproven (however, encouraging!) players. This is a critical point in the season; without the heat of the summer, and yet a relatively steady set of games to play, DC can be expected to rely on potentially high-performing line-ups again and again without having to cycle out our valuable veterans to catch up with the heat of the summer bog that is the District (I'm looking at you De-Ro,
Thorrington, Neal, Ruiz). So what rhythm will we see? The recent Pajold-up style or last May's DC Maicon Fuckin' Santoses? (Seriously, RIP). Let's start with what we know:
1) Defense. Apart from the Woolard/Riley arm wrestle, our defense is set. Bill Hamid will continue to dominate, and McDonald and B-Mac will anchor with Korb running out the wings.
2) DC was last season, and will be, a high working winger based team. We have encouraging potential on our wings in Porter, a versatile journeyman in Sanchez, and a bearded, bleachy DeLion that's raring to go after his recovery.
3) Perry Kitchen. Try taking him out of the line-up.
Which brings me to my questions:
Will Pajoy be a part of the preferred line-up?
Don't get me wrong - I fully acknowledge that Pajoy is blamed for much more than he is responsible for, and that he is not the reason for (all) our frustrations. His inclusion in the line-up has implications that lead back into the mid-field. With his high energy hold-up play, Pajoy in theory can harass defenses and free up DeLeon and CP13 to create. But this reliance on the wingers means that they can't focus on tracking back as much. Hence:
Will DC United be a flat double-pivot team in 2013?
Highly likely. Its been proven and its safe. Benny likes winning games, even if it means we don't play pretty. At this point, the lack of offensive firepower forcing itself on the field encourages a lock-down in the midfield. If we can't score, they can't score. BUT, If players like Dwayne De Rosario and Gladiador start producing up top and creating legitimate presence in the attacking third, we can (and probably will) start to see Rafael Augusto emerge as an offensive twist within that pocket of center midfield. He's looked consistently good since making his first appearance during last year's play-off
game crying-fest with Houston, and his traits can potentially create a dynamic, 2-way machine in the back of the midfield (I'm thinking last year's SKC-esque dynamic midfield featuring anyone + Roger Espinoza).
Will Dwayne De Rosario come roaring back into the season?
Absolutely premature to say, but I can't help but worry... he hasn't looked as sharp, and the injury setbacks of the past 7 months are a little unnerving. I hope I eat that question in the coming weeks. PUNISH ME DWAYNE.
Feel free to input.