It’s been exactly two days after United’s Knockout Round victory over the New England Revolution, they are now preparing for the first leg of the semifinals against the New York Red Bulls. They will be doing so now without their captain on their backline, per multiple reports Bobby Boswell has been suspended for the first leg of the Semi Finals.
Earlier this morning at a post practice media session, Ben Olsen talked about the incident in the 69th minute of Wednesday’s game involving Bobby Boswell and the Revolution’s Juan Agudelo. The veteran centre back was given a yellow card for kneeing the young striker, Agudelo instantly fell to the ground and looked to be in a great deal of pain. He had scored an unbelievable goal at the start of the match, a bicycle kick from about 10 yards out.
However, leaving Wednesday’s game the big topic was the controversial “call” or “no-call” by referee Matt Geiger involving Jermaine Jones and Sean Franklin. Earlier when Olsen was asked about a possible suspension for Boswell, it didn’t seem as if he’d be shocked about a suspension should it be issued. “There was off-the-ball contact by Bobby Boswell, yes. But there was off-the-ball contact throughout that game on both teams.”
“I have all the confidence they can get the job done and I expect them to get the job done.” – Bobby Boswell, United defender
There are a couple of options for Olsen, in terms of replacing Boswell. He could possibly move Markus Halsti back a line from central midfield to centre back, the other being to simply insert Kofi Opare next to Steven Birnbaum.
That pairing has not been together much as Olsen has only missed one game this season, but that’s what makes the most sense at this time. With Arnaud’s injury, moving Halsti may be too risky. He and Perry Kitchen seem to have got a good thing going in regards to their partnership in the middle. So moving Halsti back will still be a new partnership, at least with Kofi and Steve, it’s not as different.
This is a big moment for the youngsters (Opare is 25, Birnbaum is 24) to step in against a quality opponent, the Red Bulls won the Supporter Shield and have destroyed United on two occasions this season (both in New York). On a side note, this also a chance for United to possibly see what their future starting centre backs look like in a big game.
The first leg is Sunday at 3pm at RFK and the second is in New York on November 8th.