Goalkeeper Bill Hamid (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

 

D.C. UNITED SEASON OPENER

vs. Sporting Kansas City

Where: RFK Stadium. When: Saturday, 7 p.m. Eastern time. D.C. area TV: NewsChannel 8.

THE STARTING XI

Goalkeeper

Bill Hamid

Home town: Annandale, Va. Age: 26. Pro season: eighth.

Bio: Longest-serving team member. 2014 MLS keeper of year. U.S. national team candidate. Preseason knee surgery for second straight year. Final year of contract.

In reserve: Travis Worra (third season), Eric Klenofsky (first).

Defenders

Nick DeLeon

Home town: Phoenix. Age: 26. Pro season: sixth.

Bio: Transitioning to full-time right back after spending almost all of career in midfield. Five matches on back line late last year. Speed, strength, attacking nature.

Steve Birnbaum

Home town: Irvine, Calif. Age: 26. Pro season: fourth.

Bio: Named team captain on Thursday. No. 2 overall pick in 2014 draft. Rookie of year finalist. Poised for MLS elite status. U.S. national team regular. Reads the game, strong in air, good with feet.

Sean Franklin

Home town: Palmdale, Calif. Age: 31. Pro season: 10th.

Bio: Transitioning to full-time center back after spending almost entire career at right back. 230 regular season starts in six years with L.A. Galaxy, three with D.C.

Taylor Kemp

Home town: Highlands Ranch, Colo. Age: 26. Pro season: fifth.

Bio: Former first-round pick from University of Maryland. First U.S. national team call-up this winter. Reliable crosser, improving defender. 12 assists in 2015-16.

In reserve: Bobby Boswell (center back), Kofi Opare (center back), Jalen Robinson (center back, right back), Maxim Tissot (left back), Chris Odoi-Atsem (right back).


Midfielder Lloyd Sam (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via Associated Press)

Midfielders

Lloyd Sam

Home town: London. Age: 32. Pro season: 15th.

Bio: Three goals, six assists in 13 matches after trade with Red Bulls last summer. Clever, quick right wing who runs at defenders and mixes well with attackers.

Marcelo Sarvas

Home town: Sao Paulo. Age: 35. Pro season: 16th.

Bio: Smart, nuanced, physical defensive midfielder who shields back line and links the attack. Second year in Washington after one in Colorado, three in Los Angeles.

Jared Jeffrey

Home town: Richardson, Tex. Age: 26. Pro season: ninth.

Bio: Started 14 matches last year, one more than previous three seasons combined. Pegged for advanced central role but comfortable in defensive slot.

Luciano Acosta

Home town: Buenos Aires. Age: 22. Pro season: fourth.

Bio: Permanent transfer from Boca Juniors this winter after 2016 loan. Highly skilled, unpredictable, 5-foot-3 playmaker. Three goals, 11 assists in 25 starts last year.

Patrick Nyarko

Home town: Kumasi, Ghana. Age: 31. Pro season: 10th.

Bio: Former Virginia Tech star in second D.C. season after eight in Chicago. Starts on left wing but adept on right. Four goals, eight assists in 23 starts last season.

In reserve: Lamar Neagle (left wing, forward), Ian Harkes (central midfielder), Rob Vincent (central, defensive, left), Sebastien Le Toux (both wings, forward), Julian Buescher (central), Chris Durkin (defensive, center back).

Forward

Patrick Mullins

Home town: New Orleans. Age: 25. Pro season: fourth.

Bio: Two-time Hermann Trophy winner at University of Maryland. Career-high eight goals plus two assists in 14 matches after trade with New York City FC last summer.

In reserve: Jose Guillermo Ortiz (first MLS season from Costa Rica), Alhaji Kamara (second MLS season from Sierra Leone).


Coach Ben Olsen (John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

Coaching staff

Head coach: Ben Olsen.

Home town: Middletown, Pa. Age: 39. Pro season: seventh.

Assistants: Chad Ashton (11th season), Zach Thornton (third), Nolan Sheldon (first).