As our own Steven Streff reported, Ben Olsen does not see wholesale changes to the lineup coming anytime soon. The starting lineup against the New England Revolution will almost undoubtedly be the same group as those who took the field against Toronto FC, but hoping that tweaks to strategy and mindset will help this group unlock its potential. So, instead of running through the lineup (pictured below), we are going to rate the current starting group on how close they are to being replaced.
Travis Worra: Pretty safe, even with Tally Hall on the roster. Worra has played pretty well so far, and has gotten better with each passing game. Also, letting him grow lets the team see where his ceiling might be.
Taylor Kemp: Very safe. Even if Chris Korb were healthy, Kemp has played well defensively this season; just needs to find his crosses again.
Steve Birnbaum: Completely safe. Birnbaum's shift to the right side of central defense may be part of Olsen's plan to have Birnbaum step into the leadership role in the back line, even with the captain next to him.
Bobby Boswell: Mostly safe. If some fans had their say, this would be much lower, but Boswell is still the captain and still plays fairly well. But when he has bad games, as he has had a few times this season, he can be directly or indirectly responsible for most of the bad things that happen to United's defense. Kofi Opare is inching closer, but hasn't made a big enough starting claim when given the opportunity.
Sean Franklin: Completely safe. Franklin continues to be underrated, providing excellent defense and getting into the attack more than Kemp has this year.
Lamar Neagle: Pretty safe. Neagle is the kind of player that Ben Olsen really likes, and between left wing and forward I think it is fairly likely that he stays on the field somehow. The reason he isn't a lock is the possiblity of a reshuffle up front that pushes Chris Rolfe back and Neagle onto the bench.
Marcelo Sarvas: Very safe. Sarvas has played very well for United in central midfield so far this year, even if it is in a slightly new role. He and Nick DeLeon are figuring out their partnership, so they should continue to improve.
Nick DeLeon: Pretty safe. Ben Olsen obviously loves DeLeon, and his play in central midfield continues to get better every single game. The only reason he might get benched is if Olsen brings in someone during the summer window to directly challenge for DeLeon's spot.
Patrick Nyarko: Very safe. He has been one of the best offensive players for United so far this year, creating chances that just haven't been converted yet. The only possibility of Nyarko getting benched is if Olsen wants to try something experimental or if the season has going horribly awry.
Chris Rolfe: Up in the air. On the one hand, Olsen love Rolfe too, and he has been the key chance creator for United in his time here. On the other hand, Rolfe takes the same spot as United's big offseason acquisition, Luciano Acosta, and has Neagle on the left wing.
Fabian Espindola: Fairly safe with the current roster. United doesn't really have anyone to put on the field instead of Espindola. Lamar Neagle can play that more traditional forward role, but he doesn't have the creativity that Fabi does; Alvaro Saborio would have been a perfect complement to replace Fabi and partner Acosta three years ago, but those times have passed. Fabi is, however, at high risk of getting competition over the summer in the form of a new signing.