United roster taking shape ahead of opener against Toronto
D.C. United prepares for their season opener against Toronto FC tonight at 7:30. The week leading up to this game has presented a clearer picture of who will suit up at Audi Field.
Changes in the midfield
Head coach Wayne Rooney announced that Martin Rodriguez will miss the entire season after suffering a torn ACL during training. The loss of Rodriguez, along with the recent trading of Miguel Berry to Atlanta United, creates questions regarding the forward/midfield depth.
Those questions increased after Rooney announced that Ravel Morrison will not be a part of the team’s plans for 2023. Morrison arrived in D.C. last season and failed to excel in Rooney’s system.
These developments have opened up two international slots for D.C. United. The team has two months until the MLS transfer window closes.
Until the team pursues outside options, look for some of the younger players on the roster to be given increased opportunity. Jackson Hopkins, Ted Ku-Dipietro and Chris Durkin should see more playing time over the first games of the season. Their performances will decide whether D.C. United makes a transfer move or not.
A surprise starter?
On defense, it is becoming increasingly likely that youngster Matai Akinmboni will start against Toronto. The 16-year-old Maryland native is another in a long list of academy graduates with high potential.
Rooney has been impressed by Akinmboni and appears to be giving him a shot while Donovan Pines and Derrick Williams recover from injuries
Who is in goal?
The goalie battle continues as Rooney has yet to announced who will start the first game. Tyler Miller and Alex Bono have competed throughout the preseason for the starting gig. Regardless of who Rooney picks to play tonight, this battle should continue during the first few months of the season.
Tonight’s game weather will be brisk and chilly. Kickoff temperature will be around 35 degrees after a day of on-and-off precipitation, including some snow flurries.