United Match Preview | Braving the Red River

Since I'll be at the in-laws this weekend, I don't know if I'll be able to steal an hour or two to log on to the MLSNet.com Match Center, so my match reaction post may be delayed. Regardless, I'll catch the game as soon as I can, even if I am dreading it a bit. Yes, dreading.

RSL tore up the Crew, even if they were abetted a bit by some lax defending and questionable goalkeeping. Considering our own lax defending and questionable goalkeeping ways, that might spell trouble for tomorrow night. But I'm getting ahead of myself. What about a look at some roster concerns heading into the match?
  • Janicki and Wicks are out per the latest GoffTweet. That guarantees Crayton in net and almost certainly a reprise of the Burch-Jakovic-Namoff back line, assuming...
  • More of the 3-5-2? With McTavish returning to fitness, it's possible that we might go 4-4-2 with McTavish pairing Jakovic in the middle, with, I'm assuming, hilarious and horrible consequences.
  • In other "return from injury" news, I'm guessing Fred might be fit enough to start, and Quaranta is probably ready to get some minutes, if not start himself. With McTavish also available, does that mean Wallace sees pine or does he remain at left mid? And...
  • Where does Pontius go? The kid has impressed at both forward and right mid. With Moreno suspended, does he rejoin Emilio up top, with Fred/McTavish taking over the right mid spot, or does he remain at right mid, leaving N'Silu/Doe to partner Emilio?
Considering we'll still be missing Janicki, I think we'll stick with the 3-5-2. The difficulty is going to be for that back three to keep the pace and movement of the RSL strikers in check. They may very well stretch us, and it's going to be imperative that the midfield cuts down the passing lanes quickly and consistently. I'm going to assume that Fred is ready to go from the start and look for...


Do I feel sick giving Burch the starting nod? Yep. I'd rather a back four with Wallace at left back. But that begs the question: why no Wallace? In my mind, and in the minds of many others, Beltran and Olave are the the weak links in the RSL chain. Using Fred instead of Wallace allows us to bring more attacking pressure to bear on Beltran at right back. Also, I'd play Pontius over N'Silu because of Olave, who is a beast suited to banging bodies with N'Silu. With Pontius, he'll have a bit of guile to deal with. McTavish on the right of midfield helps us defend against what will probably be the more attacking flank.

For a nice look at what our opponents are bringing to the table, I point you to this helpful post (noting that later in the thread, the poster agrees with subsequent comments that Mathis and Johnson will flip sides, thus leading to my McTavish appointment above).

So what do you think? Worried about another possible mauling in the Beehive State? Excited to see some of our injured boys returning to the fray? Can the unbeaten run possibly continue? What lineup would you run out for this match?


  1. Ah but now Goff is reporting that Olsen didn't make the trip. So do we trust Jacobson with his first start next to Simms? Or maybe move back McTavish to RCDM and start Wallace or Quaranta across from Fred on one of the wings? I'd like to see them give Jacobson a chance in this match to prove his worth.

  2. I think Tommy will start McTavish for Olsen with Fred and Wallace on the wings. Tino comes in as a sub. I'd like to see Jacobson get some minutes too. Pending Olsen's condition, that spot may be vaccant for who knows how long. IMO, we need someone stronger than McTavish to fill that roll. I'd like to see if Jacobson fits.