In the past two games, D.C. United has used two different front lines in their 3-4-3, looking for the best ways to manage minutes and get all of their best attackers on the field. It worked against FC Cincinnati, when Paul Arriola, Wayne Rooney, and company unlocked Cincy for a 4-1 win. And it almost worked against a much better Atlanta United side, but tired legs plus the quality of Atlanta led to two late goals and a loss. But now that Ben Olsen’s team has had a full week of rest and no suspensions, who will he bring out against the Chicago Fire?
The issue with the 3-4-3 as D.C. United’s roster is currently constructed is that it means playing one of Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola, or Lucas Rodriguez out of position or putting one of them on the bench. We have seen both Rodriguez and Arriola sub in as wingbacks, but Arriola is far more impactful the closer to goal that he is. Leonardo Jara and Joseph Mora, in addition, are better wingbacks at the moment than Lucas Rodriguez is.
With everyone healthy and rested, I think that Ben Olsen may go back to the 4-2-3-1 in which he started the season, which will allow all of Acosta, Arriola, and Rodriguez to start underneath Rooney. However, I think that Donovan Pines will start in the place of Frederic Brillant. Brillant has had an underrated season, and for stretches he has been the best defensive player on the team. But Pines gives a speed not matched by nearly any central defender in the league, and he has only grown as he has gotten more time in the league.
The rest of the team fills itself out, as it has been the same group over the past couple of games. What do you want to see Ben Olsen do against the Chicago Fire?