D.C. United has been climbing in the East tonight, and will be looking to get on a true winning streak tonight as they host CF Montreal. United is unbeaten in four games and is coming off of a strong mid-week win, but they’ve only been on one winning streak all year (which lasted just two games). The next step for the Black-and-Red is going on a more prolonged run, and they’ll be looking to do that against a Montreal side that they outplayed back in June in a 0-0 draw.
Key player: Yordy Reyna
Reyna has been in improving form of late, with two goals and an assist in his last three appearances. He looked full of confidence mid-week against Columbus, even with Paul Arriola back, it seems likely that Hernán Losada will want to reward that good play with another start.
With Montreal facing a major shortage of defensively-oriented players tonight, it’s fair to expect United to be able to create space and chances for their attackers. Reyna has a great platform to make sure this isn’t just a brief uptick in form, but rather a step towards being a consistently productive, dangerous attacking player here.
Location: Audi Field (Washington, DC)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (343) - Jon Kempin; Andy Najar, Steven Birnbaum, Tony Alfaro; Julian Gressel, Moses Nyeman, Junior Moreno, Kevin Paredes; Yordy Reyna, Ola Kamara, Paul Arriola
Bench: Chris Seitz, Frédéric Brillant, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Joseph Mora, Felipe Martins, Drew Skundrich, Yamil Asad, Griffin Yow, Jovanny Bolívar
Losada may be missing six players to injury (all of whom have been starters at some point this season), but United’s lineup is stronger than it’s been of late due to some returnees. Nyeman rotating in after suspension feels likely, while Arriola’s return from USMNT duty is an additional boost up front that allows Paredes and Najar to both move back into the roles we’ve seen them in for most of the year.
One question mark is the other returning international, Donovan Pines. He’s questionable for this game, and if he can play, he may well start ahead of Alfaro. But, with United’s tendency to take precautions with injuries, we’re expecting him to get one more weekend to recuperate.
Projected Montreal starting 11: (3412) - James Pantemis; Joel Waterman, Kamal Miller, Zorhan Bassong; Zachary Brault-Guillard, Samuel Piette, Emanuel Maciel, Mustafa Kizza; Djordje Mihailovic; Joaquín Torres, Mason Toye
This was a very difficult lineup guess to piece together, because Wilfried Nancy’s side is without suspended trio Rudy Camacho, Victor Wanyama, and Kiki Struna, not to mention injured starters Ahmed Hamdi and Romell Quioto. It’s difficult enough to piece together a set of players that works in their preferred 3412 that it’s a distinct possibility that we see a shift to a back four (probably a diamond 442) out of necessity. This team could also set up in more of a 532 if being so short-handed is enough of a concern.
If Nancy prefers Bassong as a wingback (his more natural role), he’ll have to call on 19 year old Róbert Thorkelsson to play in the back three, because that’s really it for defenders for Montreal. Elsewhere, it is possible that Torres gives way to Sunusi Ibrahim or Bjorn Johnsen up front, while Mathieu Choinière could also show up as a wingback.
Referee: Marcos De Oliveira
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?: The latest Filibuster includes some discussion of the former Impact, while there’s also a Tale From Buzzard Point to get yourself up to date on the “history” of Montreal visiting this part of the world.
What are you drinking?: It’s a scorcher, and I’m still waking up earlier than planned due to the Olympics, so it’s a cold brew en route kind of day for sure. Depending on how I feel once I get to Audi Field, we might be talking a rare can of Coke as well, just to perk me up a bit.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos more goalscoring!
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