United rookie midfielder Hassani Dotson gets his first MLS start tonight against Houston, at left back with both defender Eric Miller (quad) and Kevin Molino (hamstring) out injured.
Three days ago, Dotson started a friendly agaisnt German Bundesliga team Hertha Berlin and marked winger Solomon Kalou, whom he watched play for Premier League's Chelsea when Dotson was a boy growing up.
Saturday, he starts in a game that could look meaningful in MLS standings come fall when playoffs spots are on the line.
United coach Adrian Heath said before Wednesday's friendly he was interested in seeing how Dotson fared.
Apparently, well enough. He called Dotson's performance after that game "terrific."
"He's a very powerful kid," Heath said then. "For his age, really powerful. We like him a lot."'
Veteran defender Ike Opara is back from a bothersome knee, but with a list of subs that also includes Rasmus Schuller and Abu Danladi.
Houston is playing with dangerous forward Alberth Elis, who is out with a concussion, but four-time U.S. World Cup member DaMarcus Beasley will start in both his first and last game to Allianz Field This is just his second game this season because of a knee injury. He announced his retirement on Monday, effective at the end of this season, and turned 37 on Friday.
Here's how the United lineup looks in a 4-2-3-1 formation:
Miguel Ibarra Darwin Quintero Ethan Finlay
Ozzie Alonso Jan Gregus
Hassani Dotson Brent Kallman Michael Boxall Romain Metanair
Subs: Dayne St. Clair, Ike Opara, Rasmus Schuller, Wyatt Omsberg, Mason Toye, Abu Danladi, Lawrence Olum