It’s a strange time for D.C. United to play a friendly, but that’s exactly what they’re doing tonight, hosting Honduran powerhouse CD Olimpia at Audi Field. For the Black-and-Red, it’s been a draining summer: 14 league games in the 67 days since the club’s new home on Buzzard Point opened its doors, and after tonight they’ll have played 7 games in 25 days. It’s not much better for los Leones, who have a game at Platense waiting for them this Sunday. On the plus side, United great Luciano Emilio will be honored, which is fitting given his history with both teams.
Key player: Kevin Ellis
For most of United’s regulars, a friendly right now is a hassle. For a newcomer like Ellis, though, a genuine game in front of a crowd is a gift. Keep an eye on Ellis in the moments when transition breaks one way or the other. Offensively, he has to figure out when and where to overlap to suit the midfielders in front of him, while on the defensive side it’s vital that his recognition of the team’s preferred shape comes without complications.
Location: Audi Field (Washington, DC)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (4231) - Travis Worra; Kevin Ellis, Frederic Brillant, Jalen Robinson, Oniel Fisher; Chris Durkin, Jared Jeffrey; Zoltan Stieber, Ian Harkes, Yamil Asad; Dane Kelly
Bench: Bill Hamid, Steve Birnbaum, Joseph Mora, Junior Moreno, Russell Canouse, Ulises Segura, Paul Arriola, Luciano Acosta, Bruno Miranda, Wayne Rooney, Darren Mattocks plus guest players Chris Konopka, Prince Agyemang, Gregory Boehme, Matthew Bolduc, Brandon Eaton, Raul Gonzalez, Evan Lee, and Koby Osei-Wusu
This is everyone who seems likely to suit up, but there are still some questions. Robinson is on the MLS injury report with no designation due to an “undisclosed injury,” so who knows what is happening there. Ellis can play center back, but could also end up in emergency duty on the left if Ben Olsen decides that Fisher doesn’t need the extra minutes. If Robinson or Fisher aren’t in the starting 11, Olsen will either have to start someone who is surely tired (Birnbaum or Mora) or field a guest player.
Asad may well need some minutes to build up his sharpness after a spell out with an ankle injury, but don’t expect him to play beyond halftime. Miranda would be the most likely option to replace him. Don’t be surprised if Segura also plays some significant minutes, given that he hasn’t played quite as many minutes on the season as the regular starters.
United’s will also have no fewer than seven Richmond Kickers players in uniform along with Konopka, the MLS pool GK, so it’s highly likely that Hamid and several others are not in uniform tonight.
Available TV: None
Available streaming: No live stream, but per the team the full game will be available to watch tomorrow on dcunited.com. So if you want to see this one live, you’d better get out to the stadium.
What are you drinking?: I’m going to wish I had time to grab a beer on my way in, but I won’t. So: press box bottled water.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos no injuries!