After winning against Orlando City SC on Wednesday, D.C. United travel up to Philadelphia to take on the Union. In doing so, a couple of new faces will likely grace the field as compared to those who played on Wednesday; however, the question as to how much squad rotation Ben Olsen will implement is up for debate.
Obviously, if Fabian Espindola is healthy he will return to the field; if he is not able, I expect Chris Pontius to take his spot, though Jairo Arrieta is an option as well. Chris Rolfe will also make his return to the starting lineup, after getting a 65 minute break at the beginning of Wednesday's game. Rolfe's health throughout the season is of the utmost importance to United, and Ben Olsen has admitted that he needs to rotate players more this season to keep them fresh.
Questions remain in the midfield, where I think that Markus Halsti will get his first start to spell Davy Arnaud, who has the fifth highest amount of minutes played on the team. Someday I will be right about this.
There will be one surprise in the attacking midfield, something like Nick DeLeon or Chris Pontius getting a break. I'm leaning towards Pontius since he has the fourth highest number of minutes played on the team, and Michael Farfan is likely to start in his place with DeLeon sliding to the left. Though don't rule out the chance of a surprise start by Miguel Aguilar.
The other main question is when Steve Birnbaum will step back into the lineup. Bobby Boswell is the captain, and Kofi Opare has played well, but you have to think that Birnbaum will be on the field soon rather than later. At some point, in perhaps the US Open Cup or the Concacaf Champions League, I would like to see Birnbaum and Opare get some minutes together, but for this game I think that Birnbaum comes back onto the field. Sean Franklin is also due for a break, but Olsen may wait one more game to lessen the number of changes for each individual game.
With this lineup, the substitutes would be Andrew Dykstra, Kofi Opare, Chris Korb, Davy Arnaud, Miguel Aguilar, Luis Silva, and Jairo Arrieta. The deep bench means that someone who is being rested, such as Chris Pontius in this case, might have to be left completely out of the 18. What do you want to see on Sunday?