After seeing a late lead turn into a loss in their preseason opener, and seeing a late lead turn into a draw and then back into a lead, D.C. United is hoping for more of a complete 90 minute effort in today’s preseason match against the Jacksonville Armada. After defeating the Philadelphia Union in their only preseason match against MLS opposition, the next step is controlling larger portions of the game.
Key player: Chris Durkin
United’s youngest player has had an avenue towards more playing time due to Russell Canouse’s knee injury, and so far he’s made an impression. Durkin was active against the Union, breaking up plays, making tackles, and making smart decisions on the ball. His teammates have no hesitation feeding him passes in tough spots, and he looked far more ready to contribute today than Philly’s pair of homegrown midfielders on the day.
With Canouse training to the side as of yesterday due to a reported LCL sprain and the season opener just ten days away, Junior Moreno remains the favorite to start at Orlando City. However, Durkin showed on Saturday that the gap between them should be seen as very narrow, and from here at least he should still be in consideration to see minutes. Today, his job is to continue to make a case for a place in the team on March 3rd.
Location: Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex (Clearwater, FL)
Kickoff time: 5:00pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (4141) - David Ousted; Chris Odoi-Atsem, Jalen Robinson, Kofi Opare, Michael Edwards; Chris Durkin; Jared Jeffrey, Ian Harkes, Luciano Acosta, Bruno Miranda; Patrick Mullins
Bench: Steve Clark, Travis Worra, Nick DeLeon, Frederic Brillant, Steve Birnbaum, Oniel Fisher, Junior Moreno, Paul Arriola, Ulises Segura, Zoltan Stieber, Yamil Asad, Darren Mattocks
No real mysteries here, as United should rotate given that this is the second of three games this week, and the third requires a flight to Las Vegas. As Ousted has only played 45 minutes so far, and Worra has not appeared yet, we might see those two split this game. Elsewhere, look for Acosta to prove that he belongs in the starting eleven regardless of how well Stieber or any one else is playing. Finally, pay plenty of attention to Mullins, who is enduring some vigorous competition from Mattocks for the starting job up top.
Available TV: None
Available streaming: Much to our collective chagrin, there are no options for streaming.
This is probably a consequence of the venue more than anything else, but since we’re talking about it I’d like to get on my soapbox for a second. MLS teams should make sure that every preseason game is streamed, and available for watching afterward. Venues that can’t stream should be strongly discouraged, and opponents that want to play in secret should be told that they’ll have to deal with it. This is the only way for MLS teams to build sorely-needed buzz heading into the season.
United certainly is nowhere near the worst about this (Orlando is basically pulling a Peter Nowak “10 players and a goalie” this preseason), but MLS would be better off making it a policy to turn preseason into an event.
Wait, so how the hell can we follow this game?: D.C. United is promising to tweet details, while our Steven Streff is down in Florida and will be at the game. Follow him on Twitter at @streffsoccer for game details.
What are you drinking?: I won’t be home when this gets going, so probably just water.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos imagination!