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United's Injury List Is.....

.....the shortest it has been since Franco Niell was here. (Not funny. Apologies.)

OUT: GK Josh Wicks (hip flexor strain).
PROBABLE: MF Santino Quaranta (hamstring strain), MF-D Devon McTavish (concussion).

F Jaime Moreno is suspended.

Do you think DCU should stick with the same lineup as it used in the 1-0 victory over Houston? Or should Fred, Greg Janicki, McTavish or Quaranta get the call? My guess is that there will not be many, if any, changes. On a side note, will Andrew Jacobson and Francis Doe earn their way back onto the 18-man travel roster?

By Steve Goff  |  April 7, 2009; 3:29 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Re: Niell . . I thought it was funny . better than your St. Louis joke!

I'd like to see Pontius paired with Lucho up top and have Fred start wide right in a 3-5-2.

I think Pontius needs to get some looks on through balls and spend time up front . . N Silu was ok, pretty raw . . while I think Pontius is more of a natural striker with speed and a good shot.

Tino needs to make a appearance of the bench.

Posted by: delantero | April 7, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I got a pretty good chuckle out of that. But I have never been accused of having a normal sense of humor, either. :)

I'd put Pontius up front with Emilio and let Fred get a start on a right. I think Wallace has earned a place on the left for now, assuming Soehn is still going 3-5-2, or 3-4-1-2 as the club calls it.

Posted by: writered21 | April 7, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm torn about how DC should approach RSL. On one hand, the 3412 has gotten us 5 points. While things haven't been perfect, they've been more stable than I think anyone was expecting. Our games thus far, rather than be littered with goals and chances at both ends, have been rather tight, controlled affairs. Going to play at RSL has not been a treat for us since John Wilson got called for 2 penalties very late.

On the other hand, I can think of some compelling reasons to change to a 4411. RSL's biggest weakness defensively is on the flanks; down the middle, they're pretty strong. The 3412 will lessen our ability to attack Beltran (or, if they're fit, Russell or Joy, neither of whom is much better). Playing a back four will allow our wide midfielders to play a more aggressive game in attack. Also, playing a 4411 will maintain the central triangle of Simms, Olsen, and Gomez. RSL's midfield four tend to pinch in and play a narrow style based on swapping positions; 3 central midfielders for us will clog that space down.

Here's how I'd picture such a lineup:

--------------- Emilio
--------------- Gomez
Fred -- Olsen -- Simms -- Pontius
Burch - Jakovic - Janicki - Namoff
---------------- Crayton

Fred and Pontius could switch throughout the game. One added bonus of playing like this would be that our outside midfielders pushing up will keep their fullbacks home, further forcing them to play in the clogged middle. Unfortunately, the one vulnerability we might have against them (the speed of their forwards against our backs) cannot be cured in any formation.

Like I said, I'm torn. "If it ain't broke" is usually a good maxim to follow in MLS, but I think 3412 plays into RSL's hands a bit. Right now, I'd be more willing to bet on Soehn not changing anything.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 7, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I think I've found out what Goff does on his ample days off from the Insider.

"Inhibition of HIV-1 replication by eIF3f" by Susana T. Valente, Greg M. Gilmartin, Christina Mott, Brie Falkard and Stephen P. Goff

Posted by: Colm1 | April 7, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing TS will ease players back in. Maybe Fred for Wallace to start. N'Silu up top, sharing time with Quaranta. I wouldn't mess with the back, though it might be worth inserting Janicki as a second center... in place of, hmm... Olsen? No, only to protect a lead.

G: Crayton
D: Namoff, Jakovic, Burch
M: Pontius, Olsen (Janicki), Simms, Fred (Wallace), Gomez
F: N'Silu (Quaranta), Emilio

Possibly put Quaranta at MF for Pontius at the sub. I think they're fairly interchangeable, preferring striker, but serving in MF. Pontius defends a little better, I think.

Posted by: -rke- | April 7, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

With the people who are back, I would go with a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1.





Then you can bring Gomez off the bench in an impact role, and if need be, take out one of the defenders for him so that they can go back to the 3-5-2.

Posted by: hokieunited | April 7, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Nobody can hold a candle to Wicks.

Posted by: joedoc1 | April 7, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure which is worse: (A) Steve supplementing his income as a reporter by moonlighting as a professor, or (B) Steve supplementing his income as a professor by moonlighting as a reporter. People in both careers are nervous.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 7, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We are sticking with the 3-5-2; but it's going to look like a 3-4-1-2 when attacking, with gomez the one. I wouldn't put 4 on the back line, we have been succeeding without it and need to control the middle and take advantage of the width of the field.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | April 7, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Joe Doc: That observation is enlightening.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 7, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I love Chest's 4-4-1-1 lineup, but I agree that we probably won't see a departure from the 3-5-2 yet, even though it would probably benefit us to change things up.

The wide midfield positions have got to be Soehn's toughest decisions. I really liked McTavish on the right in the first match, but I don't know that you can justify starting him ahead of Fred and Quaranta. And as impressed as we have all been with Chris Pontius and Rodney Wallace so far, I wouldn't mind seeing them come off the bench after 3 straight starts.

If stick with the 3-5-2 we must, then here's my lineup:

Posted by: DCUMD | April 7, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I have it on good authority that DC United is in the hunt for Lionel Messi and John Terry.

Posted by: Xill | April 7, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

My main issue with playing four in the back is our track record with injuries. We need a defender in reserve, and Janicki could use a little more time.

Offensively, I think we are doing okay. We need to have one formation where everyone knows what they are doing. Before we can win with any style.

As long as Gomez can play, play him. We aren't passing well enough yet with the other players, and familiarity comes before style, at least when getting the team together.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | April 7, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Four in the back, hopefully to offer a more organized defense. Either Pontius or Quaranta up top. With the altitude, I'm guessing that Fred and Quaranta don't start. Conditioning is crucial. But, I wouldn't be totally surprised to see Fred join the midfield. My guess: Back line of Namoff, Jakovic, Janicki and Burch. Olsen, Simms, Gomez and Wallace in the midfield. Then Pontius, with Emilio playing above him.

Posted by: fischy | April 7, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I think I've found out what Goff does on his ample days off from the Insider.

"Inhibition of HIV-1 replication by eIF3f" by Susana T. Valente, Greg M. Gilmartin, Christina Mott, Brie Falkard and Stephen P. Goff
Posted by: Colm1 | April 7, 2009 4:01 PM

That's funny! My wife produces that website! :)

Posted by: TCompton | April 7, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't put Doe in the 18, but I would bring, and perhaps start, N'Silu along with Emilio. We don't need Doe on the bench because Pontius and Tino can play forward. I would bring Jacobsen. Tommy should plan to use all three subs because of the altitude. Assuming Gomez starts, he will require a sub. Ditto for Benny. Save the last for injuries/tactical situations/etc.

Posted by: b18bolo | April 7, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I seriously doubt they'll change from whats been working. I'd predict the backline from LA and the same midfield we've been using except with Fred on the right and Pontious in for Jamie. Santino comes in for Gomez at some point and McTavish for Olsen.

Chest- if you want more speed in the back of the 4411 formation why not use Wallace instead of Burch- wasn't he drafted as a defender?

Posted by: laur84 | April 7, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Jakovic scares me,and not in a good way. I would put Janicki and McTavish back out there if they are mostly fit. Burch is a weak link as well so I don't mind losing him from the line up. And I like everyone's idea to put Pontius up front with Luci and let Fred start.

Posted by: fedssocr | April 7, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Hear me and understand me later . . .

if DC moves, I will make it my mission to see them cursed like the Cubs.

Posted by: delantero | April 7, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

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