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D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact 2016: Game time, TV schedule and live stream for MLS

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United has some complicated lineup questions to deal with thanks to the short gap between games this week

For the pessimists, D.C. United’s game against the Montreal Impact is a rough assignment coming after a four-game home stand that saw the Black-and-Red get just one win. We previously wrote that United needed to exceed their season points-per-game projection in those games, and instead they’re exactly where those numbers said they’d be: on 28 points, ahead of Orlando City via a tiebreaker. And now they need to make up for it with a road win, something they’ve done just once all season.

The optimists, however, will note that United is sitting in a playoff spot right now thanks to New England’s apparent tailspin over the past month. Furthermore, over the weekend the lowly Chicago Fire illustrated how to go to Stade Saputo and win. United may have just one road win all year, but they’ve managed to avoid defeat in seven of their eleven away games. Going to Montreal and getting a result is doable, especially if the Impact opt to rotate many of their starters over the age of 30.

Key player coach: Ben Olsen

I’m going to cheat here and pick Olsen, who is in the middle of leading his charges through three games in two different countries in six days. Rotation will be required, but United’s position in the table means there aren’t games to gamble on the rather successful 2015 strategy of swapping out nine or ten players for Wednesday games.

And then there’s the specifics of what players need the rest. Sean Franklin and Taylor Kemp have played every minute of every game this season. Do you bring Jalen Robinson in at right back, knowing that he appears more comfortable in the middle? Or do you move Steve Birnbaum out there and bring in Kofi Opare (or Robinson) at center back? Luke Mishu could step in on the left, but he has 2 total appearances and 162 minutes spread over 1 23 MLS seasons. And then there’s Bobby Boswell, who has had some bad road games in just this scenario in the past. If you move Birnbaum to the right, giving the 33 year old captain a game off means going without either normal starting center back.

Marcelo Sarvas, at 34, could use the rest even more, but he’s arguably the least easily replaced player on the team. Further forward, it seems reasonable to expect Nick DeLeon to come in, but for whom? Jared Jeffrey makes more sense in terms of playing style, but keeping attacking players (like Luciano Acosta) fresh might mean a lot at home on Saturday against a team like Chicago, who will sit deep all game long.

It seems reasonable to expect Lamar Neagle to come in for one winger, but what about the other? Do you ask Lloyd Sam and Patrick Nyarko to split the game, or start Kennedy Igboananike? If you do the latter, you more or less have to start Alvaro Saborio, who has been very inconsistent as a starter, up front.

Solving all of this in a way that gives United a shot at winning in Quebec without risking major injuries or damaging the Black-and-Red’s chances of winning on Saturday is a major challenge. It’s up to Olsen to find his way through this web of lineup questions and keep United’s unbeaten streak going.

Location: Stade Saputo (Montreal, Canada)

Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern

Available TV: NewsChannel 8 and regional affiliates (check the link for the over-the-air alternate channel in your area)

Available streaming: MLS Live for those outside the blackout radius

For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.

Our gamethread will be posted one hour before kickoff.