D.C. United faces their first MLS competition this preseason, taking on their old friends from the Philadelphia Union. Matches between these two teams, even during the preseason, can be hot, so expect Ben Olsen to roll out his starters for the beginning of the game and look for the pace to be frenetic. With less than a week until the Concacaf Champions League, this is going to be the primary tune-up for that match; I imagine that Saturday's game against the Montreal Impact will feature more backups, being only three days from CCL action.
Key player: Chris Rolfe
We have yet to see D.C. United's outfield MVP in this preseason, and it is still up in their as to whether or not we will see him today. However, the addition of Luciano Acosta has made Rolfe's position more of a question than it was a couple of weeks ago. Then, we all agreed that he should be up front with Fabian Espindola, as that has been United's best strike partnership over the past year and a half.
However, the addition of Acosta has changed that. Can Acosta play underneath both Espindola and Rolfe (or, more importantly, does United have a defensive midfielder who can provide enough cover to allow that to happen)? Can Rolfe continue his success from the left flank, and then what would that mean for Patrick Nyarko, Lamar Neagle, and Nick DeLeon? Ben Olsen teams have always been better when there is competition at every position, and the addition of Acosta and its cascading effects puts most of the attackers under the hammer.
Today's game will give us a good idea of where Olsen wants to go at the beginning of this season, so let's take it all in, shall we?
Location: Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Florida
Kick-off time 4:00 PM Eastern
Available TV: None
What are you drinking? Since this game kicks off during work hours, I will probably have some sort of tea. I think Yerba Mate is all I still have around, but maybe I will scrounge up something different.
As always, this is your place for all pre-game, in-game, and post-game chatter.