D.C. United takes on the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, a repeat engagement from 2012. United beat the Red Bulls that year, on a Nick DeLeon goal late in the second half. Does United have what it takes this year to pull off the win yet again?
The first lineup question, and the question that determines how the rest of the lineup shakes out, is who will replace Bobby Boswell. The two options are Kofi Opare, who played poorly in the 5-0 loss to Columbus Crew SC, or Markus Halsti, who has been slowly developing a report with Perry Kitchen in central midfield. On the road Olsen likes to play it conservatively, and so I think Olsen will want to change the least about his formation, meaning Opare and Birnbaum partner together in what could be a preview for United's future. If Halsti moves back, Michael Farfan comes into central midfield.
The other question is about Chris Pontius, who came off on Wednesday with a slight knock. If he is healthy, he will start and that will keep Chris Rolfe on the forward line. If he is unable to start, I think Olsen will still want to keep Rolfe up top, which means that Michael Farfan may get a start on the wing, though Miguel Aguilar and Conor Doyle are also options.
With this lineup, the substitutes would be Andrew Dykstra, Luke Mishu, Conor Doyle, Jairo Arrieta, Michael Farfan, Alvaro Saborio, and Miguel Aguilar. What do you want to see happen tomorrow afternoon?