On this the first actual week of DC United's 2008 campaign for international domination, we take a look at the probable starting lineup for the opening Champions' Cup match Wednesday against Harbour View.
Of the 11 starting roster slots, I think 10 are pretty much locked up, and the last 1 is only available due to the injury of our hero. Although Wells and Carvallo may rotate at times during the year, and Jaime Moreno probably shouldn't be counted on to start more than around 70% of our matches, there is really only one position where we have a truly open competition for the starting job, and that's at right midfield. Here are our top options:
1. Defensive ability - Although McTavish entered the league as a wide midfielder, and played there in college, his greatest asset for United has proven to be his quick reads on defense. Great tackler too.
2. Looks - With Bobby Boswell departed, Devon had within his grasp the title of most popular player among the ladies. That is until Santino came to town. Might this be the motivation that Devon needs to beat out Tino for this position?
1. Defensive ability - Like I said, McTavish's greatest asset is his defense. And as the club's only legitimate defender substitute, he might be more valuable on the sideline in a warmup suit, ready to enter at any time if there is an injury.
2. Offensive ability - McTavish remains unproven thus far in the wing position. In the few outings he had there last year, he wasn't overly impressive.
1. He's a Terp - Obviously a huge strength when it comes to this blog.
2. Better at offense than McTavish
3. Better at defense than Quaranta
1. Worse at offense than Quaranta
2. Worse at defense than McTavish
Santino Quaranta - See this previous post
Those are the three possibilities that I think could get the job for the Harbour View match, but there are also some underdogs who could emerge as key Olsen substitutes as the year goes on. Justin Moose was our opening game starter at right wing last year, but he just barely made the team this year, so he's probably got a ways to go before cracking the top XI again. Although a few more performances like this and he'll be there quick. Quavas Kirk is another option, although I think Soehn is grooming him to be Namoff's backup instead (Who was it that predicted that?) I almost included Kirk in this post JUST so I could use one of his totally entertaining pictures from myspace.
So if I'm Tommy Soehn, I'm gonna play it safe and give the start to Dom this week. Quaranta could turn out to be the better player, but he's still only been with the club for a couple of scrimmages and I don't quite think he's earned it yet. But the outcome of the away leg could definitely affect who we start in the home leg. If we're behind, Tino gets the nod. If we're up, you might just see McT.