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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Union-DC United: Lineups and prematch observations

UNION (4-2-3-1) 
Bench: McGuire, Elliott, Gaddis, Creavalle, Alberg, Herbers, Sapong

D.C. United (4-3-3) 
Bench: Worra, Franklin, Jeffrey, Opara, Neagle, Buescher, Le Toux

- It’s steady as you go for the Union again this week. One change again comes on the wing with Ilsinho making his first start in favor of Fabian Herbers. Ilsinho has been effective as a late-game sub; we’ll see what he can do having to shoulder the defensive work for 60 minutes plus. The bright side is that with the depth available on the wing, the Brazilian’s mission should be compressed to an hour of exertion with Herbers able to spell him. Odd not to see Fafa Picault make the lineup; probably the odd attacking option out away from home. 

- Jay Simpson (rib contusion/bruised lung) is healthy enough to return to the lineup. Interesting that he displaces CJ Sapong up top, since Sapong has scored in consecutive games (plus twice in last week’s closed-door friendly with Bethlehem Steel). I suppose Simpson’s speed suits the counter-attacking the Union will likely do away from home.

- Jake McGuire, the rookie signed off waivers from Houston, will be the backup goalie after John McCarthy sustained a concussion this week that keeps him out.

- The big missing piece for D.C., which has yet to score this year, is forward Patrick Mullins. In his stead, Jose Guillermo Ortiz starts up top. That leaves former Union man Sebastien Le Toux on the bench.

- The big matchup is going to be how the Union’s midfielder pair of Derrick Jones and Haris Medunjanin handles the threat of Luciano Acosta. Jones and Medunjanin have paired well this season, but neither is the kind of dogged matchup midfielder to hound an opposing creative attacking midfielder (think Brian Carroll in his prime). Too much of the midfielders handing Acosta off to the center backs to defend will create space in the backline that Ortiz, Lloyd Sam and Patrick Nyarko can exploit.

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