All of the talk surrounding D.C. United right now is about Wayne Rooney and Audi Field, but tonight they have one last chance to boost their point total before their new era truly begins. United has seemingly conjured up ways to lose throughout this eight-game stretch of road games, and it’s left them in deep trouble as far as the standings go. Tonight, against an LA Galaxy side that is similarly good going forward and bad at the back, United must finally put together a 90 minutes free of the kind of inexplicable errors that have plagued them all season.
Key player: Steve Birnbaum
United can definitely post some goals against LA, but the same old problem of preventing them is going to decide whether they can take 3 points. It seems like every game we’re talking about some substantial defensive error, but the one regular starter to largely avoid calamity this season is Birnbaum. Between the presence of Zlatan and the potentially tired legs throughout United’s lineup, he’s going to need to be great tonight. We’re not just talking having a good game for himself, but rather that plus putting out the fires that spring up all around him.
Location: StubHub Center (Carson, CA)
Kickoff time: 10:30pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (4141) - David Ousted; Jalen Robinson, Frederic Brillant, Steve Birnbaum, Oniel Fisher; Junior Moreno; Zoltan Stieber, Paul Arriola, Luciano Acosta, Yamil Asad; Darren Mattocks
Bench: Steve Clark, Joseph Mora, Chris Durkin, Russell Canouse, Ian Harkes, Bruno Miranda, Patrick Mullins
It seems unlikely that United will rotate much for this one, particularly if Mora (who did travel) is only fit enough for the bench. However, it would not be a shock to see Moreno step in for Durkin, and it feels like Arriola will be restored to the lineup as well. On a more forgiving surface, we may also finally see a 2018 debut for Canouse.
Projected Galaxy starting 11: (4231) - David Bingham; Dave Romney, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole; Perry Kitchen, Joao Pedro; Chris Pontius, Romain Alessandrini, Bradford Jamieson IV; Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Galaxy, despite only having three players on the injury report, carried just 17 players into their 3-3 draw with San Jose Saturday. Giovani Dos Santos and Jonathan Dos Santos have not yet returned from World Cup duty with Mexico, while Sebastian Lletget, Ola Kamara, and Rolf Feltscher are out injured. Emmanuel Boateng and Servando Carrasco aren’t on the injury report, but were held out of the game on the weekend.
As such, and based on Sigi Schmid’s history, we don’t expect any rotation. If we’re wrong, though, we could see Baggio Husidic in central midfield, or Ariel Lassiter on the wing.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Available TV: NewsChannel 8 and regional affiliates (check the link for the over-the-air alternate channel in your area), including CW Richmond in RVA.
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What do we have to say about it?: Filibuster spent some time on this one, and during this afternoon we’ll have our usual in-depth looks at the two lineups.
What are you drinking?: I caught a cold sometime on the day of the Rooney press conference, so probably nothing interesting.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos error avoidance!