Union-D.C. United: Lineups and pre-Cup observations
- All eyes are on the Union’s goal (what else is new?) with John McCarthy getting the start over Andre Blake. McCarthy was the hero of the fourth-round win over Rochester with his performance in the penalty-kick shootout and is rewarded for that outing. His start denies Blake his first appearance for the Union since Aug. 15 of last year in his last chance for a game before leaving Friday to meet up with Jamaica for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
- The Union continue the theme of small improvements to the squad, largely of necessity. It’s just little tinkering here and there: A fullback swap with Sheanon Williams in for Fabinho, a shift on the wing with the reintroduction of Andrew Wenger for Zach Pfeffer.
- The injury relief hasn’t yet arrived for the Union, leaving the bench extremely thin, coupled with the Cup-tied Eric Bird and Dzenan Catic. If they need goals late, they can draw on, well, no one really.
- D.C. doesn’t go full-bore for this one, but it’s still a solid roster. Many of the veterans like Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell and Fabian Espindola expectedly miss out, as does goalie Bill Hamid. But there’s quality in the side, including former Union trialist Facundo Coria. There’s also some pop on the bench Chris Rolfe and Luis Silva, plus don’t forget that Conor Doyle did this last week.