Union-D.C. United: Pregame lineups and observations
- Let’s not beat around the bush: This isn’t a D.C. first-team side. Dwayne De Rosario is hobbled and on the bench. Luis Silva is apparently still suffering from concussion symptoms thanks to former Union defender Bakary Soumare in the U.S. Open cup semifinal midweek. Also absent is Nick DeLeon and Chris Pontius. Conor Doyle and Jared Jeffrey have played two MLS games, as has Conor Shanosky. Collin Martin has played one. James Riley (age 30) is the only player over the age of 25 in this side, making it D.C.’s youngest in history. Heck, they couldn’t even fill out a full substitutes’ bench of seven. This is a team that the Union must beat today.
- Now for the how. No slight on Doyle, but if the Union can’t keep a clean sheet against this team, that’s a problem. D.C.'s first teamers have scored 13 times in 22 matches, and these are the guys who don't usually make the cut. If the Union somehow fail to beat this team, you might as well call off the hunt for the playoffs.
- Might be something to watch: This will be Bill Hamid’s first start in the league since June 29. He missed five games as part of the U.S. team at the CONCACAF Golf Cup, then has been benched as Joe Willis has been hot of late.
- No surprises for the Union, really. Ray Gaddis misses his first game of the season with an ankle injury. In his place will be Fabinho, as was expected. The other change from last week sees Michael Farfan head to the bench for Keon Daniel, back from his one-game suspension. Still no Kleberson, though.
- Sebastien Le Toux has five goals and two assists in his career against D.C. United. Those numbers look good to improve tonight.