The Black-and-Red should be used to it by now, playing a game on two days rest. They’ll be playing an MLS team outside of the league, confused? The Philadelphia Union will be hosting DC United tonight in the Round of 16 of the US Open Cup.
In regards to the MLS, the Union are near the bottom of the tables as they currently sit in seventh place. They drew their last game, a 2-2 contest with the Montreal Impact. United is also coming off a draw, a tough match against Toronto FC.
These two teams have history in this tournament, having met in 2011 thru 2013. It’s clear that both teams take this tournament seriously, even if when their best players aren’t on the field. Both coaches will have decisions to make as both teams are playing off of short rest. Union head coach Jim Courtin doesn’t have the same luxury as his counterpart Ben Olsen. D.C has shown that they are a very deep club that can compete no matter who’s on the field.
While Olsen may put his version of a ‘second’ group out on the field, Philadelphia won’t be doing the same. They’ll be playing their top players in hopes of winning and advancing to the next round.
With a game against Seattle, in Seattle. It’ll be interesting to see who Olsen has on his 18 man roster, especially who’ll be playing in the starting 11. It wouldn’t be surprising if Hamid, Espindola, Rolfe, Boswell and Arnaud got some rest. Letting some of the other veterans and youngsters step in and play, United has been shuffling lineups all season long, they’re comfortable and confident in doing so.
In their last match in this tournament, United’s starting XI consisted of Dykstra in goal, Halsti, Opare, Mishu, Robinson, Doyle, Jeffrey, Coria, Aguilar, with Pontius and Arrieta up top. Keep an eye out for the tactical wrinkle Olsen makes, he’s been moving things around in their last few games. Especially in the midfield, two games ago there was a fun bunch in Halsti, Coria, and Silva in the middle. They were a joy to watch with their poise and skill, the Union will certainly be looking to avenge the result from the last time these two met. United won 2-1 behind two goals from Chris Rolfe.
Keys to a United Result
- Controlling midfield. They’ve done a good job on this road trip thus far of not surrendering the tempo of the game
- Get forward in numbers. In their last two games, DC hadn’t done a great job of getting forward with numbers. They’ve put together solid counter-attacks but they should use this game to get back on track in the attacking third
- Sacrifice. With the possibility of Hamid not being the keeper, it’s imperative that the back line continue to block shots with their bodies and challenge shooters, make things easy, no matter who the keeper is
- Shoot. If some of the vets get rest, that may mean no Fabi at the start of the game. So…players can’t afford to be shy up top, they must be aggressive and take shots