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D.C. United versus FC Cincinnati lineup: The regular season is back

What should United’s lineup look like now that they’re back in action?

MLS: D.C. United at Montreal Impact Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

One thousand years ago, in March, D.C. United was getting ready to play FC Cincinnati. Ben Olsen was hinting that he might change his lineup, we previewed the game on the website like we normally would, and then the pandemic intervened and shut everything down.

Now, months later, D.C. United happens to be playing FC Cincinnati in their first game back in the new regular season. The symmetry is noticeable.

But D.C. United is not the same team that they were in March, and FC Cincinnati is not the same team either. Who will Ben Olsen send out tonight to try and win their first game in months?

There is a lot we don’t know about who is available for this lineup, because D.C. United’s injury report contains only Paul Arriola, who is still out with a torn ACL, and Felipe, who is out due to a red card suspension. There have been rumors and speculation that other players may have knocks or may be close to coming back from injuries, but we don’t have any further information.

If healthy, most of this lineup makes sense given the players United currently has rostered. With Felipe suspended, Russell Canouse can’t play right back, which is a good thing. So Joseph Mora, Steven Birnbaum, Frederic Brillant, and Oniel Fisher are very likely to be the starting back line. Similarly, the midfield plays out as one might expect, with Canouse and Moreno in the defensive midfield, and Yamil Asad and Edison Flores in attacking midfield. Ola Kamara, if healthy, is sure to lead the line.

The main question, other than any potential injuries, is what to do with the right wing. You could slot Federico Higuain into the middle and move Flores out wide, you could start Ulises Segura, but I want to see Kevin Paredes get a start. Higuain is great off the bench, and he will continue to provide magic there; I think having him against heavier legs also helps.

The bench is also a bit of a mystery given potential injuries and what the roster rules currently are, but assume that anyone who isn’t starting will just be on the bench.

We talked about bigger changes to the formation on Filibuster this week, but what do you want to see Ben Olsen do tonight?