Olsen and company have gone all in on this season. The rebuilding that many were content to endure this season is now over. The front office acquired some tradeable assets over the course of the offseason, and has now decided to use them to try and take advantage of the weak Eastern Conference. Third place would get United into the playoffs automatically; they are currently 6 points out of second/third with a game in hand over the Columbus Crew and two games in hand over the Red Bulls. However, United needs to start converting those games in hand into wins, especially at home, in order to have a chance at the end of the year.
What better way to try out the new attacking lineup than with the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Union, who also have allowed the least goals in the conference. I think that Ben Olsen is going to throw the newbies in there and give them a baptism by fire. DeRo’s presence will allow Clyde Simms to sit back in front of the defense and give them some more cover, whereas with Dax McCarty he was trying to get forward more. I see this starting lineup:
Kitchen McDonald White Woolard
Najar DeRo Pontius
Jed Zayner’s unfortunate injury means that we will definitely not be seeing the Perry Kitchen at defensive midfield experiment this season. But I’m also willing to give Clyde Simms another chance, now that he doesn’t have to compete with McCarty for space. I’m thinking/hoping that we will see the Simms of old.
Philadelphia’s last five games is the same as United’s, albeit in a different order: one win, three ties, and a loss. The expectations have now been raised and a tie in this game is not good enough. I look for United to pull out a 2-1 win, with goals from Pontius and DeRo.