Philadelphia Union Show the Foe: D.C. United

The Union was blasted by the Montreal Impact last week and is looking to get back on track Sunday as they travel the D.C. United. A battle between not only rivals but the 1st and 3rd place teams in the conference should be quite the matchup. We have not seen D.C. United yet this season in MLS play, so let’s take a look into the D.C. lineup.

Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United’s Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): GK Bill Hamid- D Steve Birnbaum, D Frederic Brillant, D Donovan Pines, D Leonardo Jara- M Junior Moreno, M Russell Canouse, M Lucas Rodriguez, M Luciano Acosta, M Paul Arriola – F Wayne Rooney ©

Player to watch: Forward, Wayne Rooney

Lineup Analysis: D.C. has put out many formations this season depending on the opponent, so it was a tough decision to figure out what they are going to play. I believe to try to counter the Union’s 4-1-2-1-2, D.C. United will go with a 4-2-3-1. With the emergence of Donovan Pines, I could see Steve Birnbaum moving over to outside back. Russell Canouse has been another player who has emerged this season, as he will be able to patrol the whole midfield with teammate Junior Moreno. Luciano Acosta is a lethal playmaker who can take advantage of defenses who may pay closer attention to Wayne Rooney. Lucas Rodriguez and Acosta are similar players who can win 1v1 battles as well as play in beautiful passes. But the main star of this offense is English football legend Wayne Rooney up-front. Rooney has been extraordinary this season as he has 11 goals and seven assists in 22 games played this season. Rooney has the power to shoot literally anywhere on the field, as we witnessed him score from midfield just a few weeks ago. He may not have the pace anymore, but with Arriola, Acosta, and Rodriguez creating plays, all he has to do is get open. The Union defense needs to keep a body in front of him at all times, so the Union is not the victims of another Rooney Goalazo.

Union’s Projected Starting XI (4-1-2-1-2): GK Andre Blake- D Kai Wagner, D Auston Trusty, D Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis- M Haris Medunjanin, M Ilsinho, M Alejandro Bedoya ©, M Marco Fabian- F Andrew Wooten, F Fafa Picault

Player to Watch: Midfielder, Marco Fabian

Lineup Analysis: It’s time for a change with this Union lineup after another embarrassing loss to Montreal last weekend. Andrew Wooten should start over Kacper Przybylko in what will be a very crucial game. The Union needs to get off to a hot start in D.C. to help set the tone. That means Ilsinho should start over a very cold Brendan Aaronson to help spark this Union offense. Some fans want Mark McKenzie to start over Auston Trusty, but I believe changing a back four that has to face Wayne Rooney may not be the best idea. Marco Fabian needs to be the Marco Fabian the Union has paid for in this crucial match. He has looked better the past few weeks but as the Union’s main playmaker, Fabian is going to have to be sensational for the Union in order to win.

Last Contest between the clubs: The last time these two teams played a regular-season game was way back in August of 2018 in the then brand new Audi Field. The Union found themselves as the victors on what was a slippery and rainy night in the District of Colombia. CJ Sapong scored in the first half for the boys in blue, while Fafa Picault scored the clincher in the second half to give the Union the 2-0 win. Despite some dangerous chances from Acosta and Rooney, the Union was able to shutout the black and red.

Match Preview: This without a doubt will be the Union’s biggest game of the year so far, so the Union needs to get off to a quick start on the road. Despite a quick start on offense the Union will have to be cautious at all times when having to deal with a high powered offense like D.C.’s. Speedsters Fafa Picault and Andrew Wooten will need to get behind the defense quickly to cause some pressure in the back of D.C.’s defense. Wayne Rooney however, is Wayne Rooney and the Union’s defense has been struggling. I expect Rooney to strike twice but I can see the Union putting three in the back of the net for a 3-2 win this week.

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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