PBPP: De Rosario factor changes defensive focus vs. DC

Philadelphia forced to contend with DC's new playmaker

Saturday’s Philadelphia Union game at DC United took a different turn this past Monday with the news of two trades made by DC United.

In their first move, the club acquired fourth year pro Brandon McDonald in exchange for allocation money. McDonald can play as a central defender or central midfielder, but with DC, I would expect him to start in the back to give the team a bit more experience and toughness near their goal line.

The second deal was the one that shocked MLS as there were no rumors prior to this deal. In this big move, DC traded midfielder Dax McCarty to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for five-time all-star Dwayne De Rosario. 

For De Rosario, this will be his third team in the 2011 season. New York made the deal to free up some money, short term and long. Prior to the trade they were up against the salary cap and not expected to make any big moves. Now there is speculation that they can make at least one significant move, if not two. They are expected to be looking for goalkeeping help.

As for DC, they were looking for a lot of things including a wow factor, which De Rosario brings. The guy is a proven winner, always in the playoffs ... until he went to a bad team in Toronto. He will make DC’s attack more formidable and more diverse. DeRo can be a playmaker as well as a goal scorer. He will no doubt make Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff more dangerous. 

For the Union, their focus on Saturday now is on De Rosario, who will become the engine of this team.

Even though his first day with his new team was Thursday, all indications are that he will be in the starting lineup on Saturday.

As for Philadelphia’s starting lineup, we won’t know until Saturday. Will Danny Mwanga be back in the starting lineup? If he is, who comes out? Mwanga has five goals this season, three on the road. Breaking it down further, he has scored twice as a starter (same game at Toronto) and three times as a reserve. All of his goals have come in the second half, with his earliest being scored in the 66th minute.

Newcomer Veljko Paunovic has looked better as he increases his minutes each game, going from 59 to 66 to 73. His goal versus Chivas USA is no doubt a confidence booster, both to him, and to his teammates.

One thing to watch for is yellow cards. Carlos Valdes is one yellow card away from a one-game suspension. The Colombian central defender (one of the league’s best this season) has played every minute so far this season for Philadelphia. He is one of the big reasons for the Union’s improved defense.

Hope you’ll be either at RFK Stadium on Saturday, or tuning in to Soccer Night in America on FOX Soccer, starting with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.

The Union are very healthy these days, so manager Peter Nowak will have plenty of good options.

Have a happy and safe fourth of July long weekend.