This weekend, D.C. United has a chance to put a cherry on top of this most recent home stand and bring themselves up to 27 points going into their summer slowdown. Three weeks between league matchups will allow some of United long term injuries to get the rest that they need, and US Open Cup matches will allow some of those players to work their way back into full fitness. D.C. United's depth allows them to work players back in and give others some time to rest while not completely disregarding the tournament as most MLS teams do.
Despite the ever growing pile of injuries (or perhaps because of it), D.C. United's lineup for this weekend's match against the New England Revolution seems to have only one big question mark: who will play left midfield? Branko Boskovic said in the locker room after the last match that he is more comfortable in the middle than out wide, and Ben Olsen's switch of Josh Wolff to that position after about 15 minutes shows that he agrees. Follow me to find out who will make the cut (and where).
If Ben Olsen had known that the Branko Boskovic at left midfield experiment would fail before the game, Lewis Neal would have started in that spot and Josh Wolff would have remained on the bench. As it happened, Olsen (rightly) did not want to burn a substitution to correct it, and Josh Wolff at left midfielder was acceptable for the rest of that game. In this upcoming match, everyone reverts back to their proper positions. Obviously is Nick DeLeon is healthy he will step back into that spot, but he would be the only one; Chris Pontius looks to still be recovering as he recently had an MRI for his muscle strain. Hopefully Andy Najar's groin strain proves to be gone by the weekend, or the many positioned Josh Wolff may become a right midfielder as well.
Even if Maicon Santos is healthy enough to start, how can you fit him on the field? You aren't going to sit Dwayne De Rosario, you aren't going to sit Hamdi Salihi at this point, and I think that Branko Boskovic is showing well enough at this point that you have to give him these few games he has left to see what he can offer. When Santos is needed later in the season, hopefully he will be ready to impress in the same way that he started the season.
Speaking of DeRo, there never seems to be the right time to rest him. If United had more league games coming up, I would be inclined to give him a rest in this game or the previous one. However, I don't really care if he is tired for Canadian National Team duty, so why not run him out again this weekend?
With this lineup, I see the bench being Joe Willis (if his eye has recovered), Josh Wolff, Stephen King, Marcelo Saragosa, Ethan White, Maicon Santos, and Chris Pontius. What do you all see?