The big surprise in the New York Red Bulls' last outing was the late scratch of Ronald Zubar that saw Chris Duvall once more asked to start in the center of defense. Duvall played no worse than any of his teammates, but unfortunately they were all mostly dreadful.
Duvall wasn't to blame, but RBNY has invested in a great many specialist center backs for this season. Jesse Marsch's comments in a recent injury update from the club suggested he hopes to be able to choose either Zubar or Gideon Baah for the start tonight, with Zubar the preferred choice. We might see neither, and Duvall back in the middle - but Once A Metro guesses Zubar will get the nod.
The other surprise in last week's lineup was the decision to bench Lloyd Sam - who had been looking his old self in recent games - for Gonzalo Veron. The move had been hinted at in training, however, so perhaps it is a reflection of Jesse Marsch's current thinking about his strongest lineup.
And it is this column's best guess as to that thinking that informs this lineup prediction. After the near-total failure of tactics and personnel in DC, Marsch could be forgiven for sending the reserves out against Chicago. But his tendency to date has been to stick by his players. A home game against bottom-of-the-table Chicago is a shot at redemption.
RBNY needs points, and it needs confidence. OaM expects to see Jesse try to grab both by sending out much the same starting lineup (with the exception of Zubar reclaiming his spot from Duvall) he used against DC. All isn't forgiven, but it can be forgotten if the starters execute their assignments more effectively this time around.
There is a case to be made for a quite radical rethink to the current preferred tactical plan, but Jesse Marsch has favored the long-term view in his time at RBNY. Chances are, he'll stick by that view and give his last lineup another chance to show the 4-2-2-2 can work for this team.