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D.C. United Draws Chicago Fire In Opening Scrimmage Of 2012 MLS Preseason

Blake Brettschneider had several chances for United in the preseason opener
Blake Brettschneider had several chances for United in the preseason opener

Those of us dying for some real MLS action finally got it today, as D.C. United kicked off the 2012 MLS preseason with a 0-0 draw against the Chicago Fire at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The game ended scoreless, but judging from the Twitter feeds of the respective teams (@ChicagoFire and @DCUmatchday), the chances were roughly equal. The teams adopted very different substitution patterns though, as the Fire changed out their entire lineup at the 30 minute mark, and then again at the 60 minute mark. United opted to use its starting lineup for longer, and changed over each position just once during the match.

Fortunately for us, that gives us an excuse to analyze the starting lineup that Ben Olsen chose to insert for this match. It might roughly resemble the starting lineup we see in the regular season opener on Mar. 10, with only Bill Hamid, Chris Pontius, and Dwayne De Rosario sitting out from what we expect to be our normal best 11.

So who did United opt to use today? Follow us down below the break to find out.

In the first half, United used the following players:
Russell McDonald Jakovic Woolard
Najar Kitchen Richter Boskovic
Brettschneider Santos

While he was on the field, Branko Boskovic showed the potential that we've all been talking about but rarely get to see. He was involved in virtually every United chance mentioned in the first half. Apparently, Boskovic is at his best when playing anywhere except an MLS regular season match. It's not surprising to see Boskovic do well though. What was surprising to me was his position. He's been used by United exclusively in the middle previously, so seeing him on the left wasn't expected. Regardless, it's great to see him healthy, motivated, and making an impact.

Joe Willis also seems to have earned high marks, shutting down chance after chance from the Fire. He was noted to have misjudged one cross from Michael Videira, but it was cleared to safety by Chris Korb. Willis stopped every shot he faced.

The lone holdovers at the start of the second half were Willis, Blake Brettschneider (who also had several chances for United), and trialist Ryan Richter, formerly of the Philadelphia Union. Richter lined up next to Perry Kitchen in central midfield, and there may be a decent possibility of him making the team if we're able to make assumptions about Olsen's decisions to give him extended minutes. Once all the substitutions were made, the full second half lineup looked like this:

Korb Svard Dudar Zayner
C'deBaca Saragosa Shanosky King
Rozeboom Jerome

Positions are approximate. Later in the match, Charles Rodriguez entered for Korb, and former FGCU player Josey Portillo entered for Dudar, moving Conor Shanosky to center back. Portillo, along with fellow FGCU alum Cristian Raudales, was listed as a guest player, not a full trialist.

There wasn't too much to brag about in the second half, except for the play of United's top Supplemental draft pick Lance Rozeboom. The midfielder (who looked to be playing forward as far as I can tell) had two shots on target to test the Fire goalkeeper.

In other news, Jamaican forward Alanzo Adlam has been released from his trial, according to the Washington Post.