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Scouting D.C. United as RSL attempts to put U.S. Open Cup exit behind them

MLS: New England Revolution at D.C. United Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake will look to put their US Open Cup defeat behind them after losing to Seattle on penalty kicks Tuesday evening.

RSL now faces D.C. to play underneath Friday night lights at Rio Tinto Stadium against a team who was also dispatched in Open Cup play on penalty kicks. D.C. United was eliminated by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the previous round and will join RSL in setting their sights on climbing up the table in league play.

Ed. Note: A previous version of this story mistakenly stated that RSL was playing in Washington, D.C. — that is not the case.

MLS: New England Revolution at D.C. United Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Goalkeeper

If you were to list MLS’ best goalkeepers with the most potential, the man who would top most people’s lists is Bill Hamid. The 25 year old shot-stopper has already made over 140 appearances for his club and 2 caps in international play. Hamid was nursing an injury before making his season debut a month ago against Sporting Kansas City. Hamid has only allowed two goals since returning from injury and will look to gain another clean sheet at home.

MLS: D.C. United at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Defense

At the heart of the D.C. United back will be captain Bobby Boswell. Boswell is an MLS veteran with over 10 years in the league under his belt. The longtime stalwart will be joined by a young apprentice in Steve Birnbaum. Birnbaum was a member of the United States Copa America squad and will likely re-join the squad for the Friday night tilt. Kofi Opare would be the first center back off the bench if Friday comes to soon for Birnbaum. The right flank will be patrolled by 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year and 2010, 2011 MLS Cup champion Sean Franklin. Taylor Kemp will be on the left side to round out the defense.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at D.C. United Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Midfield

With DC often sporting a five man midfield, at the heart of the pitch in a holding midfield role is another MLS Cup champion from his stint with the Galaxy. 34 year old Marcelo Sarvas brings experience from a multitude of the world’s leagues and will look to mark Javier Morales out of the game.

Playing ahead of Marcelo in a creative role will be another Argentine midfield maestro in Luciano Acosta. The 22-year-old Boca Junior loanee will have a free role and show up in a number of different areas to create any opportunities for the red & black.

Hardworking midfielders and former UNLV Rebels Nick DeLeon and Lamar Neagle will look to make runs and do the tracking back for Acosta. Former Chicago Fire men Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko are both recovering from concussions and may be game time decisions. Former RSL man Fabian Espindola could be a candidate to start in the last midfield role if Rolfe and Nyarko aren’t available.

MLS: D.C. United at LA Galaxy Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Forwards

The man leading the line for D.C. is Real Salt Lake’s all-time leading goal scorer. Alvaro Saborio enjoyed a five year stay in the claret and cobalt where he averaged better than a goal every two games. The 34 year old Costa Rican international is still finding his feet with United but has notched four goals for the five games he has started this campaign. If Saborio starts to become isolated, Espindola or Neagle would likely come to partner him up top.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports