United have started off the season with two draws and one loss. Today we welcome in Ben Bromley from Black and Red United to help preview this weekend's game.
BDS: DCU has struggled offensively out of the gate, how does Ben Olsen look to improve that this weekend?
B&RU: Fabian Espindola, who has been the key to the offensive for the past two years, started the season with a bit of a hamstring injury. That plus the fact that he is getting used to a new partner in Luciano Acosta lead to a slow start for the year. His return to health also means that one of United's main attackers will have to sit on the bench, and so hopefully competition will also make them perform better.
BDS: Luciano Acosta has been a fun player to watch so far, what has be brought to the club that has differed from recent international additions?
B&RU: United has often tried to work in a small but creative Central or South American player, and it has not worked recently. The thing that Acosta has that many of these other players didn't is that, while small, he does not get easily knocked off the ball or knocked to the ground. In a physical league like MLS, that is very important. Also, the other players were more gambles by United, trying to find a player who could work on a budget; with Acosta, United was able to spend some more money (thanks, TAM!) and so get a player of higher baseline quality.
BDS: After giving up four goals in the season opener to LA, what has the United defense done differently in the last two games to only give up a single goal?
B&RU: There were two main problems in that game: in the second half, LA Galaxy remembered that they were the LA Galaxy, and D.C. United forgot how to defend set pieces. In this game, United will have to try and continue the defend well without the presence of their best aerial player, Steve Birnbaum. Kofi Opare will slot alongside Bobby Boswell, who has been good so far this season, but not great as he was in 2014. One encouraging sign for United has been the resurgence of Sean Franklin, who has always been a solid right back but put in an excellent performance against the Colorado Rapids.
Lineup Prediction: Travis Worra; Sean Franklin, Kofi Opare, Bobby Boswell, Taylor Kemp; Patrick Nyarko, Nick DeLeon, Marcelo Sarvas, Lamar Neagle; Luciano Acosta, Fabian Espindola