D.C. United wraps up their preseason today with one last warm-up game as they take on the Philadelphia Union in Clearwater, FL. For both teams, the plan is apparently to treat this as a dress rehearsal for their respective MLS season openers next Saturday, so we should expect fewer substitutions and something approaching the mentality required in a competitive game. And for United fans, it’s also just a first time to see the team in action in 2020, because this game will actually be streamed!
Key player: Edison Flores
At long last, we’re expecting to see Flores play. Between visa concerns and a minor injury that the team has been very cautious with, United’s record-breaking offseason acquisition hasn’t had a ton of time to train at 100% with the group. That, in turn, has seen the hype level around a player that could be one of the very best in MLS stay fairly low, because his ability to take United to the next level remains a theoretical.
So that’s what we’re looking for today: all the stuff that we know Flores can do at a high level...just done in DCU gear. If Flores can show the technique, creativity, acceleration, and sauce that has been on display with Morelia and Peru, it’ll be a great reminder of just how good the new number 10 is.
Location: Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex (Clearwater, FL)
Kickoff time: 5:00pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (4231) - Bill Hamid; Russell Canouse, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Joseph Mora; Felipe, Junior Moreno; Julian Gressel, Edison Flores, Ulises Segura; Ola Kamara
Bench: Chris Seitz, Earl Edwards Jr., Oniel Fisher, Jonathan Campbell, Jake Dengler*, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Jacob Greene*, Moses Nyeman, Michael Gamble*, Griffin Yow, Kevin Paredes, Yamil Asad, Emmanuel Boateng, Erik Sorga
Note: Players listed in italics are on trial, while players marked with an asterisk are under contract with Loudoun United or are academy call-ups
Ben Olsen has said more than once that, if at all possible, he’ll field the likely starting eleven for the opener in this game. We’ve already talked about Flores, so let’s move on to the other big question mark, which is Asad’s fitness. Given that he missed a chunk of preseason with a groin issue, we may only see him for 30 minutes or so in this game. Reporting from Florida, the Washington Post’s Steve Goff expects Asad to play today, but as a substitute.
Don’t be surprised if Olsen gives players like Odoi-Atsem and Fisher more minutes than most of the subs, and Campbell will probably get some time to show what he can do as well. However, there’s a reasonable chance that a few players go 90 today.
Projected Philadelphia starting 11: (4312) - Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis, Mark McKenzie, Jakob Glesnes, Matt Real; Alejandro Bedoya, Matej Oravec, Brenden Aaronson; Jamiro Monteiro; Sergio Santos, Kacper Przybylko
Jim Curtin wants to field his starters as well, but at center back, it’s not clear who the starters are yet. Glesnes is supposed to start after missing time due to visa concerns, while normal left back Kai Wagner is probably out given that his status for the opener is still in doubt. The only other real questions are at defensive midfield, where Oravec or fellow newcomer Jose Martinez are vying for the job, and whether Monteiro or Aaronson will play at the point of the midfield diamond.
Available TV: It’s still preseason, so the answer is still no
Available streaming: Yes! For real! Both teams will provide a stream, though that stream will be restricted to the general D.C. and Philly regions (no, we don’t know what that limit actually means).
Update 4:50pm: Here’s the stream!
What are you drinking?: 5pm on a Saturday is high time for...some kind of beer that I haven’t purchased yet!
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos first team players scoring some goals!