DC United have had an interesting story line developing this year. Their forwards have been rotating about with no sense of consistency. Sometimes, it works out. Then there is Alvaro Saborio and Luciano Acosta. The two have established quite the partnership when it comes to coming on late and scoring. In a span of three games, the two combined to account for four DC United goals, all of the late goals that the side had become synonymous with.
Yet, put the two in a starting XI and they fall flat against one of the worst and most poorly organized defenses MLS has to offer. It’s a bit of a headache and DC United is feeling it in full force.
Luciano Acosta was given the start again against NYCFC and to say he was underwhelming would be an understatement. Despite accounting for a large portion of the team’s touches, Acosta managed zero shots and created just one chance. Not exactly numbers to write home about when you play 81 minutes. He also lost possession six times to add insult to injury.
It just wasn’t a good overall day for the two supersubs.
DC United do not have a set collection of attackers and that has to cause them some grief. If you don’t think so, look at their scorelines. There is no rhyme or reason to the DC attack. They beat Vancouver 4-0. Lost to Toronto 1-0. Beat New England 3-0 and lost to NYCFC 2-0. All of which involved a different combination ahead of the defense.
Ben Olsen has choices up front. Fabian Espindola, Lamar Neagle, Patrick Nyarko. These are all of their consistent attackers thus far into the year. Their supersubs have been nothing more than supersubs.
It’s like Ben Olsen is breaching on having the combination he wants, but the missing piece is an effective Luciano Acosta.
Olsen is doing all he can to get Acosta involved in the team, but he is most effective when put on as a sub. He has made five appearances as both a starter and a sub. As a starter, he has only one assist. As a sub, one goal and two assists. Needless to say, he has spent much more time as a starter, but has much less to show for it.
Hence the headache. If DC United can get Acosta in his substitute intensity self as a starter, then game on, DC is in it to win it. But the enigmatic state of the offense will always leave them in a state of, well, enigmacity.