After a busy week off the pitch, D.C. United look to celebrate the 4th of July weekend in style as they face the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union.
D.C. United (4-5-6) vs. Philadelphia Union (7-4-5)
When: 7:00 p.m., Saturday, July 2.
Where: RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington D.C.
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
Team News and Tactics
D.C. United: Ben Olsen might have tipped his hand vis a vis where the newly-acquired Dwayne De Rosario will play in Thursday afternoon's training session, as The Washington Post's Steven Goff tweeted that De Rosario was playing in the hole behind the strike force of Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies, while Clyde Simms played a more defensive role behind the Canadian international. This formation would seem to create a multitude of attacking options for United, as De Rosario can either get the ball over the top to Wolff or Davies or distribute the ball to Chris Pontius and Andy Najar on the wings. It will be interesting to see if Olsen sticks with that setup at the front.
At the back, Jed Zayner is unavailable as he will undergo knee surgery after injuring himself in practice this week. Regular left back Daniel Woolard will be a game-time decision after struggling with back spasms. If he can't go, Chris Korb will likely come back into the team in Woolard's place. New boy Brandon McDonald also seems likely to be handed a start in his D.C. United debut, which would likely move Perry Kitchen to right-back to take Zayner's place.
Philadelphia Union: Don't expect Peter Nowak to make many changes to the side that defeated Chivas USA 3-2 last weekend at PPL Park. Pay special attention to the center-back tandem of Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes, who form the spine of a defense that has conceded only 14 goals in 16 games so far this season.
Key to the Game
How will De Ro do?--Not much subtlety to this point. The big question entering tonight's game concerns how Dwayne De Rosario fits with his new mates and in Ben Olsen's system. Will he be the play-making midfielder that Dax McCarty was never able to become? Will he be the missing piece that enables D.C. United to charge up the Eastern Conference standings? We'll start to find out tonight.