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D.C. United versus Colorado Rapids lineup: The outside back conundrum

Ben Olsen has some choices to make

MLS: D.C. United at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The last two games have been tough for D.C. United, and part of the problem has been the injuries that are now cropping up on the back line. Chris McCann looks to be out for a number of weeks with his injured hamstring, and Leonardo Jara could miss this game after separating his shoulder against the Montreal Impact. If both of those players are out tomorrow when United takes on the Colorado Rapids, who will take their places?

I have usually been against Paul Arriola playing outside back, and this weekend is no different. Arriola was the most active of all of the field players in the game against Montreal Impact, and his influence is needed further up the field than outside back would allow. Jalen Robinson will likely slot in for Chris McCann on the left, and if Jara can’t go I would rather see Akeem Ward and his speed to get the start; speed from the back was noticeably missing since Joseph Mora has gotten hurt, and Ward may be able to replicate some of that. I expect, however, to see Robinson and Arriola as the outside backs with Zoltan Stieber starting in the midfield.

With my preferred lineup, the midfield would revert to what it has been for most of the season so far: Russell Canouse and Junior Moreno in defensive midfield; Arriola, Luciano Acosta, and Titi Rodriguez in attacking midfield; and Wayne Rooney, back from his suspension, as the striker. There has been some clamoring for Chris Durkin to get more minutes, and for most of the season so far Canouse and Moreno were playing at such a high level that Durkin couldn’t break through; this game will go a long way to showing whether or not that gap still exists.

What do you want to see Ben Olsen do on Saturday?