Who will take the place of Fabinho and Sheanon Williams Saturday against D.C. United?
John Hackworth and the technical staff did not appeal the red card shown to Fabinho in Saturday night's 1-0 home win versus Toronto FC.
That means the Brazilian winger joins Sheanon Williams, who accumulated a fifth yellow card, as one of two players suspended for Saturday's contest against rival D.C. United (7 p.m., The Comcast Network).
It's a complicated bit for Hackworth, who could have easily inserted Fabinho at left back and moved Raymon Gaddis to right back to plug the holes in the starting lineup.
Instead the team approaches this crucial match with its first and third fullback on the depth chart unavailable for selection.
"No matter how you look at it, we're going to have to change some things," Hackworth told reporters at his midweek press conference. "We're going to have to move some people around. If you leave Ray at left back, then you have to replace a right back. There are some obvious choices there, some that I don't want to disclose, but guys that have been playing there (in training) throughout the course of this year are Chris Albright and Matt Kassel. Then you've got guys you can put there who have played back there before, like Sebastien Le Toux. Sebastien and I were joking about it on Saturday night that he grew up as a right back and came to MLS as a right back. So that would be an option. [Plugging in a fullback is] the first thing."
Le Toux has played right back for the Union, but it was in an emergency situation back in the 2011 season. The Frenchman started as a right winger but shifted to defense after Carlos Valdes' red card in U.S. Open Cup play against D.C. United that same year.
As far as the most obvious choice at fullback, Mike Lahoud has the most experience among the remaining players on the team. Lahoud played right back for a spell under Robin Fraser at Chivas USA, but he's nursing an ankle sprain and may not be available for Saturday's game.
"Depending on what you do, whether you put Ray on the right or the left dictates whether you change your left midfield," Hackworth continued. "Sebastien has obviously played a lot on the left for us this year, so he's a first choice. You have Keon Daniel, who certainly has contributed majorly to the success of our season so far and is one-hundred percent healthy. There are some logical choices there, but no matter what we're going to have to juggle it a little bit and some guys might have to play a role they haven't previously played before."
The options in the midfield are numerous compared to those on the backline.
Daniel, Le Toux, Danny Cruz, Michael Farfan, and Kleberson are all options to join Brian Carroll centrally.
Each of those five players has been used in a wide midfield position in various spots over the course of their careers.
"It depends truly on what we do with our backline," explained Hackworth. "You don't want to be too conservative. We're on a good streak. We feel like we're continuing to play well and the last thing we want is to go out there and change our tactics. We have a gameplan going into D.C. United based on what they're good at and what we're good at and what they're not doing so well, and same with us. We're going to try to stick with that and maximize what we think we have out of our roster and go in there and play our game."
What changes should the Union make? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at firstname.lastname@example.org