D.C. United is in south Florida tonight to take on Inter Miami at an inflection point on their season. Three straight games at home saw them outplay their opponents, but they only got three points and one goal from their hard work. Facing a Miami side that is missing a couple regulars and that was just handed major penalties for off-field salary infractions by MLS, it’s a chance for the Black-and-Red to leapfrog the Herons and head into a three-week international break on a positive note.
Key player: Ola Kamara
United has built Kamara up slowly, taking a cautious approach after so many injuries last year, but it feels like now is his time. Edison Flores is out injured until sometime in July, the Black-and-Red have had two straight games where dominance didn’t equal goals, and ultimately your first look in that scenario is at the strikers.
While Kamara hasn’t shown the fluency during build-ups with Adrien Perez that both Flores and Paul Arriola have, part of that is down to a simple fact that Kamara’s a striker, and he makes a striker’s more direct runs to goal. United has not had enough of that element in their attacks, and today against Miami, there will be openings to find Kamara when he makes his move. After that, it’s down to the number nine to give Dave Johnson a reason to say “It’s in the net!”
Location: Drive Pink Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (3421) - Bill Hamid; Brendan Hines-Ike, Frederic Brillant, Tony Alfaro; Julian Gressel, Russell Canouse, Junior Moreno, Joseph Mora; Paul Arriola, Adrien Perez; Ola Kamara
Bench: Jon Kempin, Donovan Pines, Andy Najar, Felipe Martins, Moses Nyeman, Yamil Asad, Kevin Paredes, Yordy Reyna, Kimarni Smith
Given how Hernán Losada has handled other 4231 teams, we’re expecting a tweak to go back to the 3421, as opposed to the 352 seen from the start of the last two games. However, this could easily see Arriola underneath Perez and Kamara as a forward pairing; keep an eye on that from the start.
The big news is that Hamid and Reyna (who we can confirm is off the Injured Reserve) both made the trip, and figure to be in uniform for the first time all season. United probably held Hamid out until he was ready to start, so that’s where we’re listing him, while Reyna is most likely an option to come in off the bench.
Elsewhere, we think Brillant returns given that Miami’s attack is not as speedy or direct as Philadelphia’s, while it is possible that Nyeman or Felipe start ahead of Moreno.
Projected Miami starting 11: (4231) - John McCarthy; Victor Ulloa, Ryan Shawcross, Nicolas Figal, Joevin Jones; Gregore, Blaise Matuidi; Lewis Morgan, Rodolfo Pizarro, Brek Shea; Gonzalo Higuain
Phil Neville is without Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who has somehow managed to get a yellow card accumulation suspension already, and injured attacker Robbie Robinson. Despite a tendency to chop and change, though, this lineup doesn’t seem to be one with too many question marks in it. Figal has the edge to step in for Gonzalez Pirez, and it sounds like Pizarro is going to be given another shot as a starter after recovering from a hip flexor issue.
However, that could be playing from the left, with Federico Higuain possibly playing centrally and Shea moving to left back. Really, most of the questions are at left back, where Shea, Jones, and Sami Guediri have all logged starts in the last three weeks. Over on the right, meanwhile, Ulloa (a career holding midfielder) appears to have pushed Kelvin Leerdam into a spot on the bench.
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Available TV: NBC Sports Washington +, TeleXitos
Feel free to check our our DCU how to watch guide to figure out what your best option is.
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What do we have to say about it?: We’ve got a full Filibuster about this game and little else, and if you’re into these Primeblue kits, ordering them from this link would mean your friends at B&RU get some money.
What are you drinking?: I made my own cold brew from scratch (well, after the roasting, my roasts have been uneven), and I think mixing in a little condensed milk for a Vietnamese coffee kind of thing after dinner is the move for tonight.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos winning in blue kits!
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