Though MLS is on a break right now, D.C. United are not. This Wednesday, the U.S. Open Cup continues, and D.C. United are taking on Orlando City SC at the Maryland SoccerPlex. With MLS not resuming until 10 days after this game, Ben Olsen will likely use this matchup to keep his starters fresh and to try and get into a winning groove as the long homestand approaches.
The main question is on the back line, where most of the players have had shaky moments. However, until the window opens or Kofi Opare gets healthy, there isn’t much to be done other than subbing in Jalen Robinson for Frederic Brillant. Robinson and Steve Birnbaum have only played a few professional matches together, and the Open Cup gives Robinson an opportunity to make his case for minutes in MLS. The fullbacks, Oniel Fisher and Joseph Mora, will start because they are the only options right now, with Nick DeLeon, Chris Odoi-Atsem, and Taylor Kemp all still hurt.
In the midfield, Chris Durkin will rotate back in to give Junior Moreno a rest, and Paul Arriola will start as the number 8 in front of him. Just like in the game against North Carolina FC, Luciano Acosta will get a break in favor of Ian Harkes; unlike against NCFC, Yamil Asad will get a desperately needed break, yielding to Bruno Miranda. Zoltan Stieber will start on the other wing, behind Patrick Mullins.
The team is in somewhat of a holding pattern until the window opens or people get healthy, so this seems like the most likely starting lineup. One possibility is Dane Kelly spelling Zoltan Stieber, but with Kelly seemingly not in the first team’s current plans, that doesn’t look likely. What do you want to see Ben Olsen do tomorrow night?