After righting the ship against the Philadelphia Union and New York City FC, D.C. United travels to New Jersey to put their two game win streak on the line against the New York Red Bulls. After two wins to open the season, the Red Bulls are winless in their last four games (three losses) and are struggling to find the formation that best fits their personnel. If United can take advantage of the Red Bulls’ poor form, they can vault themselves back above the early-season red line.
Key player: Jose Ortiz
After scoring his first goal in MLS last week, Jose Ortiz could lock down a starting spot with a couple of good performances in these next two games, even as Patrick Mullins comes back from injury. The Costa Rican international is with United on loan this season and was brought in to be the primary backup for Mullins, but a hamstring injury thrust him into the lineup.
So far, he has combined well with the rest of D.C. United’s attacking players, especially Luciano Acosta, and the United lineup has found a bit of some attacking prowess. If they can get back to the form they had at the end of last season they could start ripping off wins.
Location: Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)
Kickoff time: 7:30 PM Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: Bill Hamid; Nick DeLeon, Steve Birnbaum, Bobby Boswell, Taylor Kemp; Marcelo Sarvas; Lloyd Sam, Luciano Acosta, Ian Harkes, Patrick Nyarko; Jose Ortiz
Bench: Travis Worra, Kofi Opare, Sean Franklin, Lamar Neagle, Jared Jeffrey, Sebastian LeToux, Julian Buescher
Marcelo Sarvas is likely to slot back into the starting lineup, with Jared Jeffrey going back to the bench. However, if Sarvas can at the very least improve over Jeffrey’s performance, he may see himself back on the bench later in April.
Projected New York Red Bulls starting 11: Luis Robles; Sal Zizzo, Aurelien Collin, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence; Felipe, Tyler Adams; Daniel Royer, Sacha Kljestan, Derrick Etienne, Jr.; Bradley Wright-Phillips
Hope that the Red Bulls come out in the 4-2-2-2 that has been so unsuccessful in recent weeks, but it looks like they will be in a 4-2-3-1 that actually puts Sascha Kljestan in his bester position.
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Available TV: NewsChannel 8 and regional affiliates (check the link for the over-the-air alternate channel in your area). The Richmond regional affiliate is now WUPV (65.1) and may be available in high definition.
Available streaming: MLS Live for those outside the blackout radius
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What are you drinking?: I’m smoking a pork butt all day, so it seems like a beer day. I’m probably gonna go with Champion Brewering Company’s Violator Dopplebock.
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