Scouting report: A breakdown of what to expect from Saturday's opponent D.C. United
Don't look now, but D.C. United is unbeaten in the month of August.
Okay, it's only two games, but Ben Olsen's squad just knocked off Montreal and Chicago in successive weeks, the latter victory propelling the team into the finals of the 2013 U.S. Open Cup.
It's a tale of two seasons for D.C. United, who remain in the basement of Major League Soccer with just 13 points and a 3-15-4 record. They've scored 13 goals in league play while allowing 36 on the defensive end.
However, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a different story. United has bagged eight goals and conceded two in four straight wins since May 28. League play might be a lost cause, but MLS' worst team in the table could take home the 2012 USOC title.
This Saturday at PPL Park (8 p.m., purchase tickets) will be the third of four meetings between Philadelphia and D.C. United this season. The Union beat United in league play back in April before losing in Open Cup play at the Maryland SoccerPlex in June.
Go figure, Luis Silva is D.C.'s leading goal scorer in league play.
He's only played three games for United.
Silva, 24, was acquired from Toronto as part of mid-season overhaul and already has three goals for D.C. since moving south of the border. However, the forward recently picked up a concussion in United's Open Cup win over Chicago that could see him miss Saturday's match.
Other names included in that overhaul include Conor Doyle, Jared Jeffrey, and Sainey Nyassi.
Doyle is a 21-year-old American forward who joins on loan from Derby County in the English Championship. He played only sparingly overseas, which eventually facilitated the move back to the States.
Jeffrey is an American youth product who played the last three years for second team at German Club Mainz 05. He's a 23 year old center midfielder who can pair with Perry Kitchen if John Thorrington is left out of the XI.
Nyassi is an experienced MLS winger who played most of his career with the New England Revolution.
The rest of the D.C. offense is filled with familiar faces. You know Lionard Pajoy and Carlos Ruiz from their Union days, along with veterans like Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius.
Second year player Nick DeLeon is first choice on the right side of the midfield with Canadian international Kyle Porter slotting in on the left.
The constant shuffle on the backline seems to have finally settled down.
Right now, Ben Olsen has James Riley as his left back and Chris Korb as his right back.
The experiment of moving Daniel Woolard to CB seems to have worked. He's been paired with Dejan Jakovic in the weeks following Brandon McDonald's trade to Real Salt Lake.
Two two primary defensive subs on the bench are center back Ethan White and left back Taylor Kemp. Both have seen time at USL affiliate Richmond Kickers this season.
And in goal, we can't forget the charismatic and sometimes overly-energetic Bill Hamid. He's an athletic guy with a capacity for making great saves. Issues of consistency seem to pop up every now and then for the American international.
Possible Starting XI: Hamid (GK), Riley, Woolard, Jakovic, Korb, Deleon, Kitchen, Jeffrey, Porter, De Rosario, Silva
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at email@example.com