Winless so far this season, D.C. United has a tough task on the West Coast this weekend: travel to San Jose and try and wring any possible points from the Earthquakes. They will have to do so without their best player so far this season, Marcelo Sarvas, and without their best player overall, Bill Hamid. Who will Olsen trot out to try and change the team's fortunes?
The main question, of course, is who will replace Sarvas, who is suspended for a red card in the FC Dallas game. Jared Jeffrey deputized in the latter half of that game, and is probably the favorite going into this match. However, Paul Clowes is a dedicated defensive midfielder, and this week in practice will be showing Olsen what having someone in that role might provide. But with Markus Halsti coming back to full training next week, I think Olsen will let Clowes keep getting time in Richmond; I think Jeffrey gets a chance to show over the course of a whole game what he can do here.
The other obvious change from last week is that Luciano Acosta will be starting; at this point in the season, he is too talented to leave on the bench, and so other players must make way for him. In this game, I think that player will be Fabian Espindola once again, with Lamar Neagle partnering Acosta and with Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko on the wings.
Despite having just played 90 minutes on Tuesday, Steve Birnbaum will slot right back into central defense, and I think his partner will remain Bobby Boswell for now. Boswell's reliance on long passes and his lack of speed has been particularly exposed without Perry Kitchen in front of him, but Kofi Opare also did not have a great night on Saturday. At some point Olsen will have to make a change just to send a message, but I don't think that comes this week.
With this lineup, the substitutes would be Charlie Horton, Luke Mishu, Kofi Opare, Miguel Aguilar, Julian Buescher, Fabian Espindola, and Alvaro Saborio. I would like to see Aguilar be the first sub in, with Espindola coming in after that and then an evaluation for the last sub.
What do you want to see Ben Olsen do this Saturday?