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United on Defense

Following last night's victory over New York, the second consecutive game in which Greg Vanney and Devon McTavish started in central defense and Bobby Boswell watched from the bench, Coach Tom Soehn was asked about the back line situation.

His response:

"Those guys did a good job in Columbus. We were under a lot of pressure the first half [last Saturday] and I thought they did a good job to weather it. They earned another shot at it and I thought they did another great job tonight."

Why mess with a good thing. I can understand that. But where does this leave Boswell (other than playing 90 minutes in a reserve match late last night inside an empty stadium)?

For the record, United has been very good defensively most of the last two months. It has yielded just two goals in its last five league games and, except for the 3-3 tie vs. Dallas in mid-July, the club has not permitted more than two goals in an MLS match since the 2-1 debacle at RSL on June 23. Vanney has settled in after an uneven start, caused in part by a lingering ankle injury, and McTavish is maturing by the week. Boswell's benching is a product of their play and, in the eyes of the coaching staff, his own struggles this summer.

Soehn has talked about the importance of building depth, managing minutes and keeping players fresh for the stretch run of the regular season and the playoffs.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on how he has handled the three-men-for-two-spots dilemma in central defense and how you think it will shake out this fall.

By Steve Goff  |  August 23, 2007; 11:56 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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