The first game of the season is here, as long as the wings don’t prevent D.C. United from getting to Florida. United takes on Orlando City SC, and look to use their revamped team to turn their fortunes around. They will have to do so without Luciano Acosta, who is suspended, but they’ve gotten a lot of new players over the past 7 months.
The backline is fairly settled, with Nick DeLeon, Steve Birnbaum, and Frederic Brillant all the assumed starters since the opening of training camp. Taylor Kemp is still working back from injury, so Oniel Fisher will start in his stead. All of them will probably be in front of David Ousted, but Steve Clark has made it a much closer competition than we expected.
With Russell Canouse practicing but not up to full speed yet, Junior Moreno will start as the defensive midfielder behind the trio of Yamil Asad, Zoltan Stieber, and Paul Arriola. I would like to see Chris Durkin given a shot to start, but Olsen’s lineups so far seem to indicate that Moreno is ahead of him. His partner is most likely to be Ulises Segura, but I think that Ian Harkes has a chance to pip him for that role.
Finally, all indications point to Darren Mattocks as the starter at striker; he had a good preseason, has recovered from a minor knock, and started ahead of Patrick Mullins at every turn. It will be nice to have Mullins coming off the bench, hungry to reclaim his starting spot.
With this lineup, it will be a bench of Steve Clark, Kofi Opare, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Ian Harkes, Patrick Mullins, Chris Durkin, and Bruno Miranda. What do you want to see Ben Olsen do in his first game of 2018?