With still almost two weeks until D.C. United take the field in Costa Rica for the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, the Black-and-Red have already claimed their first hardware of 2015. But for as much fun as it is to celebrate an armadillo sheriff complete with badge and six-shooters, the real prizes are yet to play for. But preseason is still important, mostly for bloggers like those of us here at B&RU to work ourselves up to a Klinsmann-approved level of fitness. With that goal in mind, we've been keeping an eye on what players are playing in what positions for los Capitalinos this preseason, and today we bring you the latest update to that effort.
|Updated Feb 15, 2015||GK||App||St||Min||Through 5 preseason games|
|Sean Franklin||5||3||228||Bobby Boswell||5||4||260||Taylor Kemp||5||4||268|
|Alexander Robinson*||4||1||107||Kofi Opare||5||4||243||Luke Mishu*||2||1||73|
|Rauwshawn McKenzie*||2||0||73||Rauwshawn McKenzie*||4||1||117||Chris Korb||1||0||45|
|Chris Korb||1||1||32||Markus Halsti||2||1||107||Alexander Robinson*||1||0||28|
|Jalen Robinson||1||0||10||Sean St. Ledger*||2||0||90||Andrew Driver*||1||0||19|
|Alexander Robinson*||2||0||55||Jalen Robinson||1||0||17|
|Miguel Aguilar*||5||1||194||Davy Arnaud||5||4||248||Chris Rolfe||4||3||222|
|Nick DeLeon||4||3||189||Jared Jeffrey||5||2||158||David Estrada*||4||1||133|
|Sean Franklin||1||1||32||Dan Metzger||3||0||107||Andrew Driver*||3||1||103|
|Conor Doyle||1||0||13||Markus Halsti||2||2||110||Collin Martin||1||0||19|
|Collin Martin||1||0||12||Perry Kitchen||2||1||107||Miguel Aguilar*||1||0||3|
|David Estrada*||1||0||10||Michael Farfan||2||1||76|
|Eddie Johnson||Collin Martin||2||0||78||Fabian Espindola||5||4||256|
|Luis Silva||Rod Dyachenko*||1||0||12||Chris Pontius||5||4||229|
|Steven Birnbaum||Jairo Arrieta||5||1||208|
|Michael Seaton||* not under contract||Conor Doyle||4||1||128|
|released from camp||David Estrada*||3||0||56|
So, what are we looking at?
- Bill Hamid is back! And how.
- The Austin tournament saw Markus Halsti make his back line debut for United, sliding back from his central midfield spot to partner Bobby Boswell. With Kofi Opare looking a small step behind this preseason, and even with Davy Arnaud giving up a lot of fouls in the midfield, it seems at the moment like Halti is more likely to start in defense when United take the field in Concachamps later this month, allowing Arnaud to stay on the field alongside Perry Kitchen. Look for all three of those players to get minutes in the last preseason friendly this week against Dallas (yes, the same team DC just played for the 'Dillo - I did mention the 'Dillo, right?).
- Chris Korb hasn't gotten many minutes the last couple of games, and that may be because of injury. Which is fine because it allows some other players to compete for a spot on the bench to back up Sean Franklin and Taylor Kemp (and presumably Korb himself). Enter Notre Dame product Luke Mishu and the Artist Formerly Known As Florida Man, who actually turns out to be Costa Rican defender Alexander Robinson. I can only assume that Jalen Robinson either has an injury of his own, though, or else is destined for an extended stay with the Richmond Kickers (which was always going to be the case, even if I'd wanted to see more of him in preseason).
- Perry Kitchen and Michael Farfan both enter the chart in the central midfield column, one more surprising than the other, though the release of Dan Metzger perhaps should have indicated where Ben Olsen sees Farfan playing.
- Farfan's central role makes even more sense with the emergence of rookie Miguel Aguilar, whose left-footed blast on Friday burned through the back of the net and knocked the spire off the Texas State Capitol before falling back to earth and hitting a criminal in the head mid-burglary. Such a good guy, that Aguilar. (Chris Rolfe had a really nice goal this weekend, too.)
- The forward pairing for the series against Alajuelense seems to be set: Chris Pontius and Fabian Espindola. That leaves open the question who will start up top when MLS play begins, though. Pontius seems a likely option (though maybe not for the opener, on short rest against the Montreal Impact), but Espindola's suspension will force Olsen to go in another direction for his partner. Luis Silva has yet to appear in any preseason match, but reports from Austin are that he and CB Steve Birnbaum appear ready to see some minutes sooner than later. If he's ready to go 60 minutes, Ben Olsen will probably start him, and if not, then maybe we see Jairo Arrieta or Conor Doyle, the pair that combined for the second goal in United's opening game in Austin.
What do you want to see out of United's last preseason tuneup this week? Let us know in the comments.