D.C. United’s first game of any kind in 2019 is today, as they face Bethlehem Steel FC in Clearwater, FL. United has never faced the Philadelphia Union’s USL Championship satellite club, but has in the past few years played the Union time and again in preseason matches that tend to come with some bite. The object today, however, is probably to simply work on patterns of play, defensive shape, and building sharpness against a side that will in all likelihood be full of teenagers from the Union academy.
Key player: Luciano Acosta
Normally this section is how a player might exploit the opponent’s weaknesses, or be key against their strengths. Today, it’s all about how Lucho is doing. It’d be great to see (er, read) that he’s there, that he’s engaged, and that Thursday’s deadline day whirlwind hasn’t thrown him off of his stride.
Location: Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex (Clearwater, FL)
Kickoff time: 11:00am Eastern. The game was originally listed as starting at 4:00pm, but rest assured, it has changed to 11.
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (4231) - Bill Hamid; Leonardo Jara, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Akeem Ward; Chris Durkin, Junior Moreno; Ulises Segura, Lucas Rodriguez, Zoltan Stieber; Wayne Rooney
Bench: Chris Seitz, Earl Edwards Jr., Colton Storm, Donovan Pines, Jalen Robinson, Peabo Doue, Antonio Bustamante, Luciano Acosta, Geo Alves, Griffin Yow, Shinya Kadono
The bench here is probably incomplete, and we may end up with a scenario like the last few years where an unidentified academy player or trialist is out there and we’re stuck referring to said player as “#40” or whatever. Ah, preseason.
Projected Bethlehem starting 11: Who knows? There is precious little information out there about who they’ve actually got available, and their roster page currently lists three (3) players. Our friends over at The Brotherly Game have a roster that is mostly made up of academy players, so expect a lot of names there to be in the lineup today.
Available TV: None. It’s preseason.
Available streaming: None, and this is pretty disappointing. MLS should make streaming preseason games mandatory. If fans in the bigger sports can freak out and read too much into a given play that won’t actually mean anything when the season gets going, so can we.
What are you drinking?: Probably nothing more complicated than some coffee. It’s still super cold out this morning.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos random fan streaming the game from their phone!