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Predicted XI: D.C. United

How will the Crew line up tonight against an Eastern Conference rival?

SOCCER: OCT 24 MLS - Columbus Crew SC at Houston Dynamo Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The year 2020 giveth, and the year 2020 taketh, and taketh, and taketh away. As the Crew finally get Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan back from lengthy injury stints, Gyasi Zardes remains out with a knee injury. And earlier today, it was announced that the Black & Gold will be without Josh Williams for two more games as he serves the second half of a four game suspension.

That all being said, the Crew should have a lot more familiar faces available as they they take on Eastern Conference foe D.C. United. The over 400 voters who contributed to the Supporter’s XI did not have the knowledge of Williams’ suspension, but here is your Supporter’s XI.

The decisions were overwhelming, a starting XI that might best mirror Caleb Porter’s first team with the injured Zardes being replaced with relative newcomer, Krisztian Nemeth. Nagbe, who returned to the starting lineup Saturday against Houston gets the start, as well as Lucas Zelarayan who picked up some time late in Saturday’s draw.

For the Massive Report Predicted XI, things get a little different.

Caleb Porter experimented with a 4-3-3 earlier this season to adapt to injury setbacks. With Zardes out, and the Crew struggling with offensive production, bringing a little more first-team quality offensive power can help spark the Crew. The back four remains relatively in-tact with Williams replaced by Aboubacar Keita. The middle three of Artur, Nagbe, and the versatile Pedro Santos allow some flexibility in formation, which Porter was not afraid to use when he moved to the 4-3-3 last time.

Up front, Lucas Zelarayan spearheads a front three with Youness Mokhtar and Luis Diaz, allowing for greater offensive firepower. If things do start to backfire, Porter can always bring in Nemeth and return to a more traditional formation.

The 2020 season has brought lots of changes and adaptations, and rotating into a new formation would not be unusual for Porter. Perhaps its a bit of a bold prediction, but 2020 is nothing if not rife for bold predictions.