D.C. United is at a critical stage in their season, and their current form may lead to them crashing out of the playoffs if they aren’t able to pull out of this tailspin. With Wayne Rooney suspended and Russell Canouse still injured, it will be done to mostly the same cast to try and flip the script against the Philadelphia Union tomorrow night.
The key move, which has been made obvious by the suspension of Wayne Rooney, is to reinsert Luciano Acosta into the central attacking midfield. He has changed the game each time he has come in as a substitute these past few games, begging the question of why he was not re-inserted into the starting lineup earlier. He had been in a rut, with no goals or assists since June 1, but his introduction in the last two games sparked a moribund offense.
The rest of the attack mostly falls into place, with Paul Arriola and Ola Kamara starting to Acosta’s right and ahead of him, respectively. The other question, however, is whether Lucas Rodriguez starts or whether Emmanuel Boateng gets his first start for D.C. United. Rodriguez can score great goals, such brace against Cincinnati or his first goal of the season against Real Salt Lake. He can also put in a defensive performance, especially when Ben Olsen asks him to play wingback. But he, along with other members of United’s attack, can disappear for stretches at a time. Everyone needs a break, especially after this crushing stretch of games, so it may be Boateng’s time to start.
The defensive midfield and the back line are pretty much what you would expect with Russell Canouse, Chris Durkin, and Jalen Robinson all likely out. Felipe and Junior Moreno will be the defensive midfielders, with Leonardo Jara, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, and Joseph Mora on the back line. Bill Hamid, of course, will start in goal.
What do you want to see Ben Olsen do tomorrow night?