Another Friday is upon us, Mane Landers, and that means it’s time for this week’s Intelligence Report. With the international break over, Orlando City and D.C. United will both have the rosters that they typically would, meaning it’ll be all hands on deck for each squad.
This week saw me head to our nation’s capital where I met with Black and Red United’s Ben Bromley at the top of the Washington Monument in the wee hours of the morning. He was kind enough to give me some insight into the team currently sitting first in the Eastern Conference.
D.C. has picked up right where it left off last season and currently sits first in the East after three games played. What have you been most impressed by with the team so far?
Ben Bromley: The key for this team is the central midfield. Russell Canouse and Junior Moreno are two of the best central midfielders in all of MLS, and they have made D.C. United’s defense one of the best in the league. The attack is great as well, but it all starts from that defensive midfield.
If you had to identify the most crucial piece of this team, who would you say it is? Is there a specific person you believe really makes this team click?
BB: If I had to pick one player on this team so far this year, I would actually go with Junior Moreno. He has dominated opposing midfields and destroyed both RSL and Atlanta United. Russell Canouse is great as well, and he and Junior Moreno have been the secret keys to the team so far this year.
There were two big transfers for D.C. United this off-season with the team landing Leonardo Jara and Lucas Rodriguez on loans. With both players having started all three of United’s games, what have been your early impressions of them?
BB: Leo Jara and Titi Rodriguez have been great signings for this team so far. D.C. United has made due with unnatural right backs for close to a decade, and signing a Boca Juniors starter has been transformative. Titi Rogriguez has been a great fit for Ben Olsen’s system so far, pressing with Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta and starting D.C. United’s defense from the front. If he’s already so good at this aspect, his attacking skills will only grow.
Are there any injuries or suspensions that will keep players unavailable for selection and what is your projected starting lineup?
BB: This team’s roster is a little light right now, but there are no real injuries or suspensions that affect the starting lineup right now. I think the starting team will be (4-2-3-1):
GK: Bill Hamid;
DF: Leo Jara, Steven Birnbaum, Frederic Brillant, Joseph Mora;
DMF: Junior Mroeno, Russell Canouse;
AMF: Paul Arriola, Lucho Acosta, Titi Rogriguez;
F: Wayne Rooney
Many thanks to Ben for his valuable insight on D.C. United.