D.C. United take on second-tier side Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, June 14 at 7:30 PM at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.
With an away match in Houston only several days after the Open Cup fixture, head coach Ben Olsen will have to use his team’s depth in order to keep legs fresh, and has plenty of options up and down the roster.
16-year-old Chris Durkin who recently signed as the youngest Homegrown Player in team history, will start and make his competitive debut for United. The six-foot Glenn Allen, Va., native, who trained full-time with the first team last fall and during preseason in Bradenton, Fla., this year, can play as either a defender or defensive midfielder.
“We are excited that Chris will begin his professional career with us,” Dave Kasper, United general manager and VP of soccer operations, said. “His maturity, ambition and understanding of the game are unparalleled for a player of his age."
Farther up the field, another recent acquisition will make his debut as a starter for the Black-and-Red. Sierra Leone international Alhaji Kamara burst onto the scene in record fashion, scoring the fastest-ever goal for a player making his MLS debut when he scored the winning goal against Sporting Kansas City just 33 seconds after entering the match as a late substitute. A big, strong forward who makes runs in behind opposing defenses, Kamara will be a nuisance for Fort Lauderdale’s back line. He is also well-versed in using his size to hold the ball up and bring other players into the attack.
Travis Worra, who performed admirably filling in for the injured Bill Hamid, through the early stretches of the season, will start in goal. The Lancaster, Pa., native has started 11 matches MLS games in 2016 with a GAA of 0.91 and four shutouts. Worra, 23, has been nominated for MLS Save of the Week twice as well as for the MLS-All Star game. He will be up against former University of Virginia goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who has looked solid in net for the Strikers, making 14 saves and only conceding six goals in as many games.
The Strikers, who wrapped up their spring season last weekend with a 2-1 loss against FC Edmonton, ended the campaign 4-3-3. Barring an upset victory over United, the Strikers won't play again until July 2 when the fall NASL season gets back underway. Former United forward Maicon Santos leads the line for the Strikers, and finished the season tied for third in the NASL in goals (four).