Paul Arriola is back in the mix for D.C. United, but the Black-and-Red will be without the suspended Luciano Acosta on Friday night when D.C. host the New England Revolution at Audi Field. Acosta was sent off in last week's loss to FC Dallas, ending the playmaker's streak of 53 consecutive league games played. Head coach Ben Olsen will have a couple of options to mitigate the loss of Acosta, who last missed a game during the 2018 season opener.
The game begins at 7 PM in the nation's capital and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Untied are currently mired in a streak of just one win in their past eight league games. That hasn't cost D.C. too much in the standings, as United have been able to hold onto second place in the Eastern Conference thanks to indifferent results from the teams behind them.
However, Olsen's side will be desperate for a win on Friday, as they'll have just five home games remaining after the game against the Revolution. D.C.'s road form has improved this year, but to keep one of the top spots in the East they will need to maximize the number of points they pick up at home.
Back in May, United went to Foxborough and picked up a point on the road in a 1-1 draw, a part of this current eight-game stumble. United were left frustrated by the result after conceding a goal after keeper Matt Turner got sent off for smashing into Wayne Rooney.
Rooney did salvage the point with a stoppage-time penalty, after a video review awarded United the spot kick for a handball.
That game came with interim manager Mike Lapper at the helm, but Bruce Arena is now the boss for the Revolution and has the club inching closer and closer to a playoff spot. The Revs have not lost a game since Brad Friedel got fired on May 9 — after defeats of 6-1 and 5-0 in quick succession. In seven games since, the Revs have won four and drawn three; they trail Toronto FC on goals scored for the final playoff spot.
The Revs were also boosted this week by the signing of forward Gustavo Bou from Liga MX side Tijuana. New England invested a hefty sum in the Argentine striker, who had been performing well for the Xolos, scoring double digits goals in each of the last two seasons. It appeared that Bou was making the trip with his new team to D.C., though his status for Friday's game is still up in the air.
United don't have any new players to call upon themselves, but the return of USA international Paul Arriola will be a boost to Olsen's side. Arriola excelled in Gregg Berhalter's set up at the Gold Cup, notching two goals as the U.S. lost 1-0 to Mexico in the final on Sunday night. Back with his club team, Arriola should be expected to play in his more natural wide midfield role, having been used all over the field in recent months to fill voids due to injuries.
Olsen has several options on how to account for the suspended Acosta, which we took a look at here.
This is the second-ever meeting between the clubs at Audi Field, with United taking the first game 2-0, back in August of last year.
Predicted D.C. United Lineup (3-4-2-1): Bill Hamid, Steven Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Frederic Brillant, Joseph Mora, Junior Moreno, Leonardo Jara, Lucas Rodriguez, Paul Arriola, Wayne Rooney