Scouting report: Analyzing what to expect from yet another showdown vs. United in Boyds, Md.

Breaking down what to expect in Wednesday's USOC clash

United USOC scouting

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

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D.C. United's league results in 2013.

It's been a mighty struggle for Ben Olsen's club, a club that finds itself in last place in Major League Soccer with six points, one win, 10 losses, and three draws.

The good news is that Wednesday's game in Maryland is not a league game, it's a fourth round matchup in the U.S. Open Cup.

Either way, you always throw out the records when these two teams meet.

For the third straight year, Philadelphia and United will square off at the SoccerPlex in Boyds. United won the 2011 matchup on penalty kicks following added extra time and some red card drama. The 2012 version also went to extra time, with the Union going through on a late goal from Antoine Hoppenot.

There's always drama between Philly and D.C. This season, United can put aside its league woes and try to regain some footing with a positive string of results in the Open Cup.

United Attack

It's been an absolute mess up top for United in 2013 – just six goals scored in 14 total league games.

As if that wasn't poor enough, D.C. United had to go to penalty kicks to defeat affiliate Richmond in the Open Cup's third round. United went through 4-2 on PKs after 120 minutes of play ended in a 0-0 scoreline.

Former Union striker Lionard Pajoy was D.C.'s first choice forward to start this season. He leads the team with two goals, but his playing time has been cut down in recent weeks.

Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius are the two MLS veterans that you would expect to see production from, but they've both struggled this season. They've combined for one goal and three assists in more than 1,600 minutes.

Young designated player Rafael has failed to impress in six appearances this season. Olsen has given more time recently to veteran Carlos Ruiz, and also recalled Casey Townsend from Richmond to give the Maryland product a chance to impress. However, Ruiz is gone on international duty with Guatemala.

The midfield has also been a weak point, with Nick Deleon in a bit of a sophomore slump since his return from injury. Kyle Porter has seen consistent time on the flank, while Marcelo Saragosa and Raphael Augusto have been mostly sub-par. Marcos Sanchez was waived by the club and Sainey Nyassi was added to the roster. John Thorrington has been getting some time at center mid in recent weeks.

As it stands, Perry Kitchen is the only midfielder or forward on the squad to play in all 14 league games.

United Defense

D.C. United traded midweek for Vancouver defender Alain Rochat, in an effort to improve upon a backline that's allowed 24 goals this year.

Olsen has mostly gone with left back Daniel Woolard and right back Chris Korb.  However, Korb won't be available due to yellow card suspension. 

James Riley has played more of a role in recent weeks, while Robbie Russell retired back in May.

The original center back pairing of Dejan Jakovic and Brandon McDonald has not clicked this season. Ethan White actually started next to Woolard against New England last weekend, while Korb played left back and Riley came in at right back. That backline ended up earning a clean sheet on the road, so who knows if Ben Olsen decides to try it again on Wednesday.

Bill Hamid is always an enigma in goal. Sometimes he's stellar, and other times he makes some head-scratching mistakes. He's always capable of taking over a match if he's focused and on his game.

Possible Starting XI: If we are being honest on this one? Only United coach Ben Olsen knows.

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com