D.C. United is nearing the end of their crunch of games leading up to the Gold Cup break, but there are still two more stops before they can rest. As Jason explained, D.C. United is a much worse team with Paul Arriola not playing on the wings (or not playing at all), and he will still be out for this game. D.C. United has a number of options to fill Arriola’s position on the field, but is there someone on the team who can provide a similar style of play?
Ulises Segura is a hard working and hard charging option at right wing, and he has most often gotten the call when Arriola is absent or moved. Zoltan Stieber has the creativity to lift the attack, but he has been in a rut basically since Wayne Rooney arrived and he was moved to the bench. Neither have provided the offensive spark that Arriola brings to the field because their playing styles are different. I would contend that Griffin Yow, owner of 1 MLS minute so far in his career, is the player most in the vein of Paul Arriola and should get a chance to show what he can do tonight.
In the first goal in Loudoun United’s history, Yow stays wide before receiving the pass, cutting inside, and then taking the shot; it is deflected but goes in.
His goal in the friendly against Real Betis also comes from him staying wide, anticipating the distribution of the Betis’ goalkeeper, and skipping forward for another shot and (deflected) goal.
His staying wide is important, as it allows other players the space to work without overcrowding the middle of the field. When he does cut in, he can do so at speed, rather than starting from the middle at a stand still. While there is no perfect time to introduce a rookie homegrown player to MLS, a mid-week game with the starter suspended and the primary backup facing three starts in a week seems tailor-made for that situation.
Whether or not Yow starts, I think that we will see the same starters as Saturday in the rest of the slots on the field. What do you want to see Ben Olsen do tonight?