With United's Open Cup debut scheduled for tomorrow evening at the Maryland SoccerPlex, the coaching staff has some really interesting roster decisions to make. Last year, United took a Harrisburg Islanders squad way too lightly, and supposedly have learned their lesson. Even though the Rochester Rhinos are currently struggling in USL, DC should take this opportunity to earn a Champions League birth seriously. Although I can't say I'm too fearful of the Rhinos' lineup. Their "star" player/coach Steve Guppy is suspended due to a red card, and I double checked to make sure that the Ze Roberto listed on the team isn't the same Brazilian national we've all heard of and didn't just transfer to the team from Bayern Munich.
So with Rochester's lack of form in mind, along with the idea of taking the Cup serious for once, I thought we'd take a look at United's roster options. This is not a tournament that United should roll out a full Reserve squad, but then again THEY CAN'T. In Reserve division matches, the team has the luxury of utilizing "guest players" not currently on the roster, but for official matches like this one, the team can only use players currently under contract. With only 9 players from the Developmental roster available, DC will clearly need to mix in at least 9 of the Senior roster regulars. Goff has confirmed that Moreno and Quaranta will not be available, but Olsen and Mediate probably will, and so will newly signed Craig Thompson. (No, I can't believe I just linked BS.)
Here are the up-to-date options then for tomorrow night: Barlow, Burch, Fred, P. Carroll, Carvallo, Cordeiro, Doe, Dyachenko, Emilio, Gallardo, Kirk, Martinez, McTavish, Mediate, Murphy, Namoff, Olsen, Peralta, Simms, Stratford, Thompson, Thorpe, Wells, Zaher. Soehn's choices could say a lot about where he feels some of these players are at. Does he choose to start the highly paid Quavas Kirk in this match, or keep using him only in the safety of the Reserve division? Do we dare give another start to the recently demoted Jose Carvallo? Is it worth risking further injury to Ben Olsen just to get him some field time? Are rookies Jeremy Barlow, Pat Carroll, Dane Murphy, or Mike Zaher worthy of their first appearances with the first team?
Here's my proposed starting lineup with a mixture of the regular starting XI with a healthy portion of developing talent:
Subs: Pat Carroll for Namoff. Zaher for Burch (or Murphy for McTavish). Barlow for Emilio.
Bench players not used: Carvallo, Murphy, Simms, Thompson
The worst thing about this match though is that for some inexplicable reason, it will apparently not be shown on USLlive.com like the Wizards/RailHawks, Dynamo/Battery, and Chivas/Sounders matches. Really unfortunate. Which is making me ponder the long drive up to Germantown. Anyone else going?