D.C. United is looking to break out of a poor run of results tonight, as they take on struggling NISA side Flower City Union in the 2022 U.S. Open Cup. It’s the first cup match since 2019 for United, and though they enter the match having lost four in a row (and two in truly gut-wrenching fashion), they will be heavily favored to beat a Flower City side that is winless in league play.
Key player: Edison Flores
Hate to sound like a broken record, but if not now, when? Flores now has Taxiarchis Fountas and Jackson Hopkins challenging for time, and with one a DP and the other making an immediate good impression in his first MLS appearance, there simply aren’t many more chances for Flores to retain his place as a starter.
Having not played at all on Saturday, he should be fresh and raring to go. No excuses, he needs to be a dominant force tonight.
Location: Rochester Community Sports Complex Stadium (Rochester, NY)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (3412) - Jon Kempin; Donovan Pines, Hayden Sargis, Tony Alfaro; Griffin Yow, Drew Skundrich, Chris Durkin, Gaoussou Samaké; Edison Flores; Ola Kamara, Michael Estrada
Bench: Bill Hamid, Brendan Hines-Ike, Jeremy Garay, Russell Canouse, Julian Gressel, Ted Ku-DiPietro, Jackson Hopkins, Taxiarchis Fountas, Nigel Robertha
We’re in unknown territory here, as this is Hernán Losada’s first Open Cup match with the club, and this game kicks off less than 72 hours after United’s last game ended. Here’s what we suspect: Andy Najar and Chris Odoi-Atsem, who both required substitutions due to knocks on Saturday, are probably staying home. There’s no reason to expect Moses Nyeman to come off the injury report, Adrien Perez is out for a month or so, and both Brad Smith and Sofiane Djeffal are questionable in a way that seems more doubtful than anything else.
We’re going to go ahead and assume they’re all unavailable. Yow’s not a natural wingback, but with Gressel needed against New England this weekend and the injuries elsewhere, he’s more or less gonna have to play there tonight. Further forward, United should look for Kamara go 90, as they know he can’t face the Revs due to his red card suspension. Flores and Estrada should rotate in as well, though we could see Losada start Ku-DiPietro in a 343 in order to preserve Estrada for the weekend. Fountas is probably not yet ready to play a starter’s minutes, so we’re expecting another appearance off the bench for the new DP.
Projected Flower City starting 11: (4231) - Maykell Ortega; Colin Muller, Nikkye De Point, Andriy Demydiv, Mitchell Brickman; Suniel Veerakone, Jordan Saling; Lukas Fernandes, Giancarlo Cañas-Jarquin, Andre Deas; Arion Sobers-Assue
Flower City has started their NISA season with three straight losses, including taking a 6-1 thumping from Maryland Bobcats FC to open the season. More recently, they lost 3-0 at home to Michigan Stars FC, and their only win is the extra-time 1-0 triumph over USL League 2 side Western Mass Pioneers to get them into this game.
Looking over their lineups, there’s been a lot of rotation. Brickman, Cañas-Jarquin, and Fernandes (who scored their 2nd round game-winner) are the only players to start all four games. It’s distinctly possible that we see more changes or the use of a formation they haven’t played yet this season, as Flower City has clearly placed a lot of importance on this game, going so far as to successfully lobby NISA to reschedule their league match from the weekend.
Available TV: None
Available streaming: ESPN+ (subscribe via that link, & your friends at B&RU get some cash!).
What are you drinking?: I’m at home for this one, and it’s looking like the move is going to be a big glass of iced tea.
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