Match Analysis with Chad Ashton: "We’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day of the week." http://t.co/DqO6sA4egg #DCU

Team

31 January 11:44 am

With the news that Homegrown Player Andy Najar has been transferred to R.S.C. Anderlecht, D.C. United players tweeted their well-wishes.

United captain Dwayne De Rosario:

2012 MLS Best XI selection Chris Pontius:

Fellow United Homegrown products Bill Hamid...:

...and Ethan White:

Midfielder Perry Kitchen:

Defender Brandon McDonald:

Defender Dejan Jakovic:

And fellow former MLSer and Anderlecht teammate Sacha Kljestan:

21 January 2:43 pm

The full D.C. United preseason roster was released on Friday. Below, we introduce the seven trialists on the list.

Kyle Altman
A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, 26-year-old Altman currently plays for the Minnesota Stars FC. The defender was originally drafted by the New England Revolution in the second round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, but joined the Minnesota Thunder after being waived by the club. Since joining the Minnesota Stars in 2010, Altman took on the role of team captain and earned more minutes in the past two seasons than any other player on the team.

Neven Markovic
Neven Markovic is 25-year-old Serbian soccer player, who most recently played for MLS' Sporting Kansas City. Markovic was a member of the 2012 Sporting roster who won the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The left back previously played for a couple of teams in the Serbian SuperLiga, including FC Rad Belgrade from 2005 to 2008.

Joseph Nane
A graduate of Old Dominion University, Joseph Nane was originally drafted by Toronto FC in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. At the end of the 2010 campaign, the Cameroonian native was traded to the Colorado where he spent two seasons playing for the Rapids. The midfielder appeared in nine games in 2012, notching one goal in 446 minutes.

Demitrius Omphroy
Demitrius Omphroy is an American-born soccer player from Alameda, California. With his Filipino roots, the versatile 23-year-old has one cap with the Philippines National Team. After four years at the University of California, Berkley, Omphroy was drafted by Toronto FC in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.

Diego Restrepo
Although he was born in Venezuela and lived in Colombia until he was 13, Restrepo is an American who has seen time with both the U-17 and U-20 US National Teams. The goalkeeper won the starting role with the University of Virginia Cavaliers in 2009, leading the team to a National Championship. While at the UVA, Restrepo broke several of US Soccer Star Tony Meola's records including games played (25), minutes played (2348), shutouts (16), consecutive shutouts (11) and consecutive scoreless minutes (1176).

Ryan Richter
Ryan Richter is a 23-year-old midfielder out of Pennsylvania. He currently plays for the Charleston Battery in the USL. A graduate of LaSalle University, Richter was drafted by the Philadelphia Union in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft. After his contract was not picked up in 2012, Richter joined D.C. United for preseason and finally landed with the Battery for the 2012 season.

Matt VanOekel
Like Kyle Altman, Matt VanOekel currently plays with the Minnesota Stars. VanOekel originally played for the Minnesota Thunder of the USL before the team folded, he was then picked up by their successors, the NASL Minnesota Stars where he soon became the starting goal keeper.

08 January 4:40 pm

How was your holiday break?
Joe Willis: It’s been pretty awesome. Back in St. Louis for pretty much all of it, hanging out with my family, so it was a pretty good break.

Do you have a lot of friends who are still back in St. Louis?
JW: Yeah, a lot high school friends I hadn’t seen in a while, so it was good times.

So, when are you leaving for England?
JW: I’m leaving tonight – my flight is at 6:15 p.m.

Are you all packed and ready to go?
JW: Ha! Nope. I am not packed at all, haven’t even started packing. Yeah…I know. It’s going to be a pretty busy day – have to take care of a bunch of stuff before I head over there, but it should be alright.

How did this opportunity to train with Sunderland materialize?
JW: A little while ago, [D.C. United goalkeeping coach] Pat [Onstad] came up to me and told me that there might be an opportunity for me to train with an English team over the break and he asked me if I wanted to do it, and I told him, ‘Absolutely.’ Anytime you have an opportunity to train with a Premier League team, you’re not really going to pass it up.

How long are you over there?
JW: I’ll be over there until – so I fly over there tonight [January 8] and I’ll be flying back on January 16.

Have you ever been to England or any other part of Europe?
JW: I have been. I went to England, actually I trained with three different teams for three weeks right before I got drafted by DC. So basically, this time two years I was over there. That’s the only time I’ve been over there.

Which teams were you training with two years ago?
JW: I spent a week with Tottenham Hotspur, I spent a week with Fulham and then I spent a week in Wales with Cardiff City.

So, you’ve had experience being over there. How would you say living and playing in the U.K. is different from the U.S., if at all?
JW: It’s fun, I like it. It’s pretty similar, to be honest, as far as the way they go about their daily business. It’s a little more high-profile, I guess, but it’s pretty similar.

What are you hoping to accomplish with this training stint?
JW: My goals are really to enjoy myself and take it as a learning experience, try to learn as much as I can from the coaches I have over there. It’s always fun to get a fresh perspective from different coaches.

With Andy [Najar] being over there in Belgium, are there any plans for you guys to meet up and grab a Belgian waffle over there or some fish and chips in England?
JW: Ha, I don’t think so. I haven’t talked to Andy. I’m sure he’s pretty busy, and I’ll be pretty busy over there, so I don’t think I’ll be meeting up with him.

Having played 11 games last season, what goals have you set for yourself for this year?
JW: Really, I’m just always trying to get better. Whatever happens, happens – whether I play or Bill [Hamid] plays or Andrew [Dykstra] plays or whoever, I’m really just trying, always trying, to get better. So, whatever happens will happen and the only thing I can control is making yourself better.

What is the biggest difference you have seen in your game now versus your rookie season in 2011?
JW: Definitely, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with all of it. I’ve gotten to know the guys and everyone in the D.C. United organization and you know, having two years experience now definitely feels a lot more comfortable. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better as a player with the coaching staff at D.C. United and I’m less nervous and more excited now.

What areas specifically in your goalkeeping have you seen improvement in?
JW: I would say that my positioning has gotten a lot better. That was one of Pat’s [Onstad] strong points as a player, so that’s something he’s been able to pass on to myself and the other goalies. Reading the game and communicating – it can still be better for me, but it’s definitely gotten better since I joined.

How proud were you of one of your DC training partners, Bill [Hamid], getting called up again to the U.S. Men’s National Team?
JW: Oh yeah, it’s great. Bil’’s a good goalie and he deserves it, so it’s exciting to see him get called into the National Team. It’s tough having him on the same team when it’s a position where only one guy can play, but it’s also good having strong competition in your spot because it makes me better and helps motivate me to be better.

Now I think the most important question that our fans want to know – how’s the beard coming along?
JW: Ha, the beard is coming along. It’s not quite where I want it yet, but it’s definitely getting there. It hasn’t really been touched since I started growing it [in November], so it’s getting a little wild, a little out of control.

So, you’re pretty much committed to a year of this?
JW: Yeah, I’m committed to a year, but we’ll see. I’m going to play it by ear and see how it goes. I still got, like, seven or eight months left to grow it, so in a few months once it starts getting a little longer, we’ll see. Right now the plan is for the next seven or eight months to keep it growing.

RELATED: Joe Willis and Andrew Dykstra to train in England

04 January 1:03 pm

In a recent post on MLSsoccer.com, editors chose D.C. United as a team primed for a deeper playoff run in 2013, saying that with the return of a healthy Dwayne De Rosario, United could be a, "real title contender."

Perhaps just as compelling as a healthy De Rosario is the wealth of young talent in the Black-and-Red core. With an average age of 25, United is among the most youthful squads in MLS. But in this case, youth does not equal inexperience. United's roster boasts the 2012 MLS All Star MVP, 2012 MLS Best XI selection and 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year Runner-Up Chris Pontius (25) and three other Rookie of the Year finalists in just as many seasons: Nick DeLeon (22), emerging center midfield star Perry Kitchen (20), and 2012 Olympian and homegrown standout Andy Najar (19), the 2010 Rookie of the Year. Additionally, starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid (22) - the first D.C. United Acadmey product to sign directly with the first team – led all MLS netminders in saves percentage (78.6%) and registered the third-best GAA (1.03) in 2012.

With its captain back to full form and a young roster, who turned more than a few heads in 2012, United is indeed set to contend for the Cup in 2013.

02 January 11:51 am

From around the globe, D.C. United players reflect on 2012 and look forward to 2013.

28 December 1:45 pm

Despite his teammates not naming him the "Best at FIFA" in this year's superlatives, Bill Hamid is one of D.C. United's FIFA enthusiasts. Recently he sat down with ESPN to talk about his playing style and how being a professional soccer player has helped him become better at the video game.

"You know at certain points when to cross when you see runners going. You know when to bring the keeper out when there’s a breakaway. Being a pro soccer player, you figure those things out easier," explained Hamid. Read the full article on ESPN now.

21 December 10:31 am

Yesterday, MLS and adidas unveiled the new official match ball for 2013. The adidas PRIME features a few updates from it's 2012 version, including a slightly new look and upgraded technology.

The updates make the PRIME more water resistant and increasingly more aerodynamic with a cutting-edge panel bonding technique. The ball features a matte finish with slight texture to help with ball control, while changes to the bladder help prevent air and shape loss across all weather conditions.

The PRIME keeps it's traditional MLS colors of green, blue and white, while it also still features the signature of League Commissioner Don Garber. The design change is in the shapes, which were changed to emulate the handles of the Philip F. Anschutz trophy.

D.C. United faces Houston on March 2, 2013 marking their first match with the new ball.

20 December 2:04 pm

With the holidays upon us, D.C. United players share their travel and celebration plans with fans via Twitter.

Chris Pontius heads back home.

Dwayne De Rosario is looking for the best place to celebrate the New Year. Any suggestions?

Dejan Jakovic spends time with family.

Marcelo Saragosa finds time to enjoy a poolside vacation.

13 December 12:44 pm

Do you ever wonder what professional athletes do during the offseason? It's easy to keep up with D.C. United players through their Tweets.

For veteran captain Dwayne De Rosario, work never stops. DeRo plays an active role in his winter camp series:

Chris Pontius and Perry Kitchen catch up on their favorite TV shows and movies:

Dejan Jakovic shares his passion for DC sports:

Brandon McDonald travels visit friends and family:

Bill Hamid and Ethan White keep themselves physically and mentally fit:

SEE THE FULL LIST OF PLAYERS ON TWITTER

04 December 12:17 pm

From Left: Ethan White, Chris Pontius, Brian Orakpo (Redskins #98), Fred Davis (Redskins #83), Kurt Morsink, Dejan Jakovic. Photo Credit: Washington Redskins

Last night, defender Dejan Jakovic, midfielder Chris Pontius and defender Ethan White, as well as Scouting Coordinator Kurt Morsink, watched RGIII lead the Washington Redskins (6-6) to a 17-16 grudge match win over the New York Giants (7-5).

While the G-Men have the overall edge in this rivalry – compiling a 93-65-4 record and winning four Super Bowls over the Redskins’ three – the exciting talent of rookie QB Robert Griffin III has Washington prime to change the tides. Comparably, D.C. United has dominated its series against Atlantic Cup Foes New York Red Bulls, posting an all-time 32-20-9 mark. In fact, no other club has defeated a team as much the Black-and-Red has beat the Red Bulls.

Tweet Tweet - United players share pictures and thoughts from their Monday Night Football experience