D.C. United will take on the Chicago Fire this weekend, having lost two straight games with poor performances in both. While the defense has been poor as well, much of the problem starts with the fact that United has been unable to connect the defense and the midfield, and that midfield has been unable to prevent people from driving through it. While Jared Jeffrey seems likely to remain the starter over Marcelo Sarvas, there is another option that is recently back from international duty.
At this point, Chris Durkin can at the very least give the same kind of performance that Jared Jeffrey or Marcelo Sarvas can, and he can likely be much better. He is coming off of starting for the US U-17 national team in their successful qualification bid for the U-17 World Cup this fall. And while he has been getting good time with the Richmond Kickers, there is no point in him not getting MLS experience right now. He can be the bridge to the summer, when United will hopefully sign an experienced defensive midfielder that can immediately come in and start (especially since that will be right before Durkin is gone for another month for the U-17 World Cup).
Elsewhere on the field, a change needs to be made in central defense. Steve Birnbaum should slide back into the middle, but his partner is completely up in the air. Neither Bobby Boswell nor Kofi Opare have particularly excelled recently, and so it would be reasonable to see someone else get a chance. I would be excited to see Jalen Robinson get a chance alongside Birnbaum, but that doesn’t seem very likely at this point. To allow Birnbaum to move back inside, Chris Korb will likely get the start on the right.
In the attack, we are likely to see Sebastien LeToux take over for Luciano Acosta, even with Julian Buescher returning to training. Buescher wouldn’t be game fit to risk starting, but hopefully he can get 15 minutes near the end of the game. Similarly, Patrick Nyarko is back in training but won’t start either, so expect the rest of the attacking group to be the same as last week.
What do you want to see Ben Olsen do on Saturday?