Blog

16 April 2:31 pm

D.C. forward Josh Wolff has played alongside Montreal's coach and its captain

Less than 48 hours removed from a road win against New England, D.C. United’s players were back at work early Monday morning.  Though Mondays are usually off days for the Black-and-Red, Ben Olsen and his crew must prepare for a quick turnaround with Wednesday night’s clash against Montreal looming.  Here are a few notes from around RFK. 

INJURY UPDATE

Less than 48 hours removed from a road win against NewEngland, D.C. United’s players were back at work early Monday morning.  Though Mondays are usually off days forthe Black-and-Red, Ben Olsen and his crew must prepare for a quick turnaroundwith Wednesday night’s clash against Montreal looming.  Here are a few notes from around RFK. 

INJURY UPDATE

While United’s central defense has taken some hits over thelast week, there was one hopeful sign at Monday’s training session.  Ethan White worked separately on someconditioning and ball-work exercises, showing signs of tangible improvement in hissurgically repaired right knee. White underwent surgery on March 13 and was expected to miss around sixweeks.

Also working off to the side was fellow central defenderEmiliano Dudar, who strained his left hamstring late last week.  The Argentine was jogging on Monday andhis condition is improving although it is still unclear whether he’ll beavailable against the Impact. 

Dejan Jakovic, who came off injured in the 60thminute against New England, did not practice.

FAMILIAR FOE

Though there isn’t much videotape on Montreal, D.C. willhave some intimate knowledge of the Impact when the expansion side visits RFKon Wednesday.  In addition toplaying alongside Montreal coach Jesse Marsch for five seasons in Chicago, Unitedforward Josh Wolff played with Impact captain Davy Arnaud during his two stintsin Kansas City.  After training,Wolff was quick to point out Arnaud’s imprint on the Impact.

“He’s the captain and I think they live and breathe by hisexample,” Wolff said Monday of his former teammate.  “They fight, and they get around the ball a lot.  It is something that we are going toneed to be aware of.”

Wolff and Arnaud played together from 2003 to 2006 and againfrom 2008 to 2010.  In fact, thepair tallied their first goals for Kansas City on the same day as both playersscored in a 2-1 win over the then New York MetroStars on June 8, 2003. 

TALON AT THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

United's lovable mascot Talon participated in the 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on Saturday as part of the Events DC float.

14 April 10:41 pm

Playing with heavy hearts, D.C. United managed a difficult road win in New England

D.C. United pulled off an inspiring win Saturday night in New England.  Here are some leftovers from the comeback victory at Gillette Stadium. 

MARCELO ON THEIR MINDS

When United's players were told early Saturday morning that Marcelo Saragosa's father had passed away unexpectedly in Brazil, the Black-and-Red were - to a man - devastated for their teammate.  D.C. entered the match with heavy hearts and with Saragosa not far from their thoughts.   

D.C. United pulled off an inspiring winSaturday night in New England. Here are some leftovers from the comeback victory at Gillette Stadium. 

MARCELO ON THEIR MINDS

When United's players were told early Saturdaymorning that Marcelo Saragosa's father had passed away unexpectedly in Brazil,the Black-and-Red were - to a man - devastated for their teammate.  D.C. entered the match with heavyhearts and with Saragosa not far from their thoughts.   

"When one of our brothers is going throughsomething like that we all feel his pain," said captain Dwayne DeRosario.  "We definitelywanted to go and win this game for him and his family, and I'm grateful we wereable to do that.  Now, when helooks at the game sheet he'll see that we won and hopefully it will put alittle smile on his face."

It may not have been easy to pick out on thebroadcast, but - in tribute to the popular midfielder and his father - D.C.wore a black armband against the Revolution.

KING ON CALL

As Saragosa was planning his return trip toBrazil, Ben Olsen was scrambling for a replacement to fill out D.C.'s matchdayroster.  Stephen King was the manager'schoice, but at first, Olsen couldn't get a hold of the steady midfielder.

At dinner in Arlington with his fiancée andsome friends, King checked his phone at around 8:30 Friday night and saw thathe had two missed calls from his head coach.  After confirming his availability, the 26-year-old made abeeline for the airport where a 10:00 p.m. flight took him to Providence.  From there he took a cab to the teamhotel in Foxborough, where King settled in for a few hours of sleep before a7:00 a.m. wake-up call on Saturday.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

For the second straight week, the back fourthat finished the match for United wasn't the same group that started it.  Dejan Jakovic's second-half injuryforced Robbie Russell to move inside and Chris Korb to come off the bench.  Just like they did against Seattle lastSaturday, D.C.'s makeshift back line held firm in the second half.

"It isn't an ideal situation but it is asource of pride that we came together and did well," Russell said.  "Hopefully we can keep four guysout there for ninety minutes and get back to a unit that works welltogether."

"We believe in our subs," addedOlsen.  "No matter who westart we think we have a group off the bench that can really change thegame."

In addition to praising Russell for his versatility, Olsen singledout Korb, telling reporters after the match that the second-year defender'brought a lot to the game'.

12 April 2:30 pm

A few notes as D.C. United prepares for the club's lone road match in April

After a rare day off on Wednesday, United's players were back at RFK Thursday for preparations ahead of Friday's departure for New England.  Afterwards, we caught up on some of the key storylines ahead of Saturday's Eastern Conference clash. 

PLAYERS ONLY

About halfway through Thursday’s intense training session,captain Dwayne De Rosario called a players-only huddle at midfield.  Though he didn’t discuss the specificsof what was said, veteran defender Robbie Russell spoke after practice aboutthe message shared during the brief meeting.

“It’s an attempt by DeRo to get us together and voice someopinions when we get choppy with each other,” said Russell.  “[He’s] trying to keep us on point andfocused and that we are all working together towards one goal.  Sometimes tempers get heated but that’snot what is important, it’s the objective that’s important.”

When United visits New England on Saturday it will be apseudo-homecoming for Russell, who spent most of his teen years in Amherst,Massachusetts.  Despite coming offinjured against Seattle, Russell trained fully Thursday and should be fit forselection in New England.

EL 'DUDE'

Since defender Emiliano Dudar’s inclusion in the startingeleven, United have allowed just a single goal over the club’s last threematches.  Despite multiple changesalong D.C.’s back line against Seattle, the experienced Argentine was able toefficiently organize the Black-and-Red’s defensive efforts.

“Sure, there were changes, but every player who had to stepin has shown that they are capable,” Dudar said Thursday in a Spanish-languageinterview.  “Judging from what Isee in practice, I think each player on this team can play at a high enough levelto be a starter.”

Since replacing Dejan Jakovic at halftime against LosAngeles, Dudar has not missed a single minute while patrolling the center of D.C.’sdefense.

HAMID CONTINUES TO IMPROVE

Bill Hamid was back to his old tricks on Thursday, showingno ill effects from the ankle injury that has hobbled him since returning fromOlympic qualifying duty.  Duringone particularly impressive sequence, Hamid denied both Hamdi Salihi and ChrisPontius from point-blank range in a rapid-fire finishing drill. 

“Bill looked good,” Head Coach Ben Olsen acknowledgedafterwards.  “He made some prettyimpressive saves today.  I think he’sstill getting his feet under him from the injury, but he looks good.”

Although the coach wouldn’t go as far as to name a starter, Olsendid confirm after practice that Hamid would join Joe Willis in D.C.'s traveling goalie contingent to New England.

11 April 1:55 pm

A few storylines from around RFK as United players earn a day off

United's players were given a rare day off on Wednesday as the team prepares for Saturday's road trip to New England.  Here are a few storylines from around RFK as the club prepares for Friday's departure to Boston.

WOOLARD STILL WORKING

Despite the fact that United’s players were given the day off, Daniel Woolard was spotted early Wednesday morning in D.C.’s locker room.  The young defender has played extremely well of late, and will be the cover feature on the club’s Matchday program April 18.

United's players were given a rare day off on Wednesday as the team prepares for Saturday's road trip to New England.  Here are a few storylines from around RFK as the club prepares for Friday's departure to Boston.

WOOLARD STILL WORKING

Despite the fact that United’s players were given the dayoff, Daniel Woolard was spotted early Wednesday morning in D.C.’s lockerroom.  The young defender hasplayed extremely well of late, and will be the cover feature on the club’sMatchday program April 18.

Below is an excerpt from the article on Woolard, whichchronicles his amazing journey from seldom-recruited high school back to MLSstarter:

"After the last game of our season, I'm thinking I'm fine withmy career being over," Woolard admitted of his attitude followingMidwestern State's elimination from the 2006 NCAA Division II Tournament.  "I was thinking morerealistic.  I had to finish mydegree and start thinking about what I wanted to do in the working world.”

Woolard is tied for third on United in minutes played so farthis season, trailing only Robbie Russell and Dwayne De Rosario.

COMPETITION EVERYWHERE

With Bill Hamid’s return to practice earlier this week,United now has two proven goalkeepers to choose from in the coming weeks.  Though Ben Olsen wouldn't discussspecifics after Tuesday’s training session, D.C.'s coach did acknowledge a heightened competition for multiple spots in his starting eleven. 

Later Tuesday afternoon, Joe Willis stopped by the CapitalSoccer Show studios for an interview and spoke briefly on Hamid’s return andthe current goalkeeping situation.

“He's a great goalie," Willis said of his teammate.  "As an athlete you always want to play.  It’s always upsetting to sit on the bench, but I trust thecoaches’ decisions.

I feel capable of playing and I also have confidence in Bill.”

HOLIDAY HEROES

On Monday, a foursome of United representatives made their way to the WhiteHouse Easter Egg Roll. Robbie Russell, Stephen King and Chris Pontius joined head coach BenOlsen in celebrating the 134th installment of the annual tradition.

“How many times do you get to say you went to the White Houseand play with kids out on the lawn?” Pontius told MLSsoccer.com. “We’rebasically just getting them moving, keeping them occupied. We’re just trying tomake it fun for the kids.”

Though D.C.'s attendees had the shortest commute, the Black-and-Red weren’t the only MLS side represented at 1600Pennsylvania Avenue.  Members ofthe Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls were also in attendance,including former D.C. midfielder Brian Carroll.

05 April 1:31 pm

Former D.C. defender Marc Burch took a shot at Daniel Woolard earlier this week

In advance of Saturday night's match against Seattle, D.C. United took their training inside RFK on Thursday.  Afterwards, we caught up on a few of storylines from the week.

MAN OF FEW WORDS

Former D.C. defender Marc Burch provided plenty of locker room material with his quotes earlier this week.  Perhaps most noteworthy was Burch’s assertion that he is better than United’s current left back.

In advance of Saturday night's match against Seattle, D.C. United took their training inside RFK on Thursday.  Afterwards, we caught up on a few of storylines from the week.

MAN OF FEW WORDS

Former D.C. defender Marc Burch provided plenty of locker roommaterial with his quotes earlier this week.  Perhaps most noteworthy was Burch’s assertion that he isbetter than United’s current left back.

It would seem to be a thinly veiled shot at Daniel Woolard, who nowoccupies the left back spot in the Black-and-Red defense.  Offered the chance to respond on Thursday, the quiet defender had little to say.

“It is what it is,” said Woolard.  “I’m just trying to go out there and win the game for our fansand get three points.”

Unwilling to bite on the first question, the 27-year-old wasgiven yet another opportunity to engage in Burch’s war of words when asked if hewas surprised by his former teammates’ comments.

“No comment,” Woolardadded with a wry smile and a laugh.

MUSICAL CHAIRS

After not playing since the first half of United’s 3-1 lossto Los Angeles on March 18, Dejan Jakovic should get an opportunity to play thisSaturday.  Though BrandonMcDonald’s absence is far from ideal, this serves as yet another reminder why adding depth was atop D.C.’s offseason improvement list.  After Thursday’s training session, Jakovic acknowledged thatcommunication would be key when he steps in for McDonald against Seattle.

“I have a chance to come in and help the team get anotherwin, that’s the way I’m looking atit,” said the Canadian International. “We have to make sure we are on the same page.  We’ve had a bunch of different lineups, so justcommunication and being on the same page is important.”

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL VISIT

After learning of a local youth soccer player undergoingtreatment at Children’s Hospital in D.C., United midfielder Kurt Morsinkdecided to pay the youngster a visit late last week.

While professional athletes often give their time forsimilar causes, Morsink noted that he was particularly impacted by this trip.  After practiceThursday, the 27-year-old shared his experience.

“It just changed the way I view life,” Morsink explained.  “It makes us realizehow lucky we are and how we have to go out of our way to be even better rolemodels.  That on the field stuff isgreat, but if we can be good people as well that’s more important.  As D.C. United players we take pride inbeing good on the field and off the field as well.”

04 April 2:30 pm

Brandon McDonald received a one-match ban from MLS

Because of a rare Monday practice, D.C. United's regular starters were given the day off on Wednesday.  After the shortened training, we picked up on a few storylines ahead of Saturday's match against Seattle. 

MCDONALD REACTS TO SUSPENSION

When word broke late yesterday about BrandonMcDonald's suspension, D.C. United's fans took to social media in droves toprotest the one-game ban.  McDonaldwasn't the only United player disciplined by Major League Soccer as Danny Cruzearned an undisclosed fine for 'his act of embellishment which brought the gameinto disrepute'.

After a brief training session Wednesday, thefifth-year defender made clear what his intentions were on the 20th-minutetackle that drew the league's attention.

"My intention is never to go in and hurtanybody and end their career," said McDonald.  "If you watch again you can see he kind of steps into[the tackle] and that's what makes it look as bad as it did."

When asked if the suspension would affect hisphysical style of play moving forward, the 26-year-old answered with authority.

"No.  Not at all," McDonald replied.  "This is why they got me here, to be that type ofplayer on the field.  I think weneed it and it would be foolish of me to change the way I play.  At the same time, I have to be smartabout what I'm doing."

TIME TO GO STREAKING

At the risk of being redundant, it has been along time since D.C. United last won back-to-back games.  Asked earlier this week if getting thewin-streak monkey off their backs would be discussed, Ben Olsen said he didn'twant to harp on it.  Yet on Wednesday, Stephen King acknowledged that stringing together victories is atopthe Black-and-Red's to-do list.

"It's definitely being talked about,"said the United midfielder. "It's one of the things we set out to do at the beginning of theyear.  We want to put togetherstreaks and it starts going into this game.  It's a good opportunity for us to put together two wins back-to-back."

United's last winning streak came in early June of 2009.  Chris Pontius and Dejan Jakovic are the only current players that were on the roster for those consecutive victories over New York and Chicago.

BURCH BURN

If you have yet to see former United defenderMarc Burch's comments about returning to RFK, do yourself a favor and read them.

While those comments are sure to register withD.C.'s players, a final quote from the left-footed defender may draw the ire ofthe Black-and-Red's fans.

"RFK Stadium used to be one of the bestplaces in the league to play," Burch told Joshua Mayers of the SeattleTimes.  "Now it's Seattle, forsure."

Burch has started all three games so far this season for Seattle.

03 April 2:53 pm

Veteran forward Maicon Santos gives United much-needed strength up top

Watching Maicon Santos celebrate his first goal of the season early in Friday's 4-1 win over FC Dallas, it was clear that the veteran forward was playing with a sizable chip on his shoulder.  

For starters, Dallas happened to be Santos' last employer.  After trading for the Brazilian mid-way through last season, Schellas Hyndman and company chose not to pick up his option for 2012. On top of that, Santos' season was off to a frustrating start as just one of his nine shots on goal had made its way on target.

WatchingMaicon Santos celebrate his first goal of the season early in Friday's 4-1 winover FC Dallas, it was clear that the veteran forward was playing with asizable chip on his shoulder.  

Forstarters, Dallas happened to be Santos' last employer.  After trading for the Brazilianmid-way through last season, Schellas Hyndman and company chose not to pick uphis option for 2012. On top of that, Santos' season was off to afrustrating start as just one of his nine shots on goal had made its way ontarget.

Sowhen his 28th-minute blast easily bested ex-teammate Kevin Hartman,one can understand the intensity with which Santos celebrated.

"Ithink he was a little bit extra revved up because it was Dallas," Olsensaid afterwards.  "Playinga former team gets you a little more focused and more motivated."

"Iwas very inspired," Santos admitted.  "There is always more inspirationagainst your former team.  Itgives you a little bit more energy.  Itwas [a good night]."

Whilehis two goals and one assist were certainly welcome Friday night,it's not necessarily what is needed from Santos on a weekly basis.  With his bullish strength, the 28-year-old's most important characteristic is the ability to play with his back togoal. When midfielders and defender serve the ball forward, Santos hasquickly become D.C.'s best bet to keep possession. 

"Hebrings a different element to our team, one which we needed," said DwayneDe Rosario, who provided the assist on Santos' second tally Friday night.  "He's a guy that can bephysical.  He can take hitsfrom behind and hold the ball up and get guys into the play.  We really saw the best of that onFriday."

DeRosario can take extra satisfaction in the Brazilian's success knowing that hehelped bring Santos to Washington.  Thetwo played together while in Toronto, and the reigning MVP had no qualms inrecommending Santos to Olsen and his staff this offseason.

"Benasked me how he was in the locker room and I told him he's a good guy," added United's captain.  "He has a lotto offer.  Why not have aguy like that on your team if you have an opportunity to get a player of hiscaliber."

01 April 5:38 pm

A few leftovers from Friday evening's 4-1 win over FC Dallas

After a night where there were plenty of good storylines, here are a few leftovers from Friday evening's 4-1 win over FC Dallas.

BACK IN THE KITCHEN

Before kickoff against Dallas, United midfielder Perry Kitchen adequately described his role in a pre-match interview with Kyle Martino of the NBC Sports Network.

"I'm pumped to do the dirty work for him," Kitchen said when asked about playing behind Dwayne De Rosario.  "Hopefully he can work his magic."

Kitchen's willingness to do the dirty work has quickly endeared him to Head Coach Ben Olsen.  After playing three matches in five days with the Olympic team, Kitchen ninety minutes against Dallas and earned some serious praise from his coach.

"Not an easy week," Olsen said of his holding midfielder.  "He was shot from ten minutes in.  We asked a lot of him today and he gutted it out.  I'm really proud of him."

ANOTHER OLYMPIC HOPEFUL

While De Rosario turned in his most complete performance on Friday, D.C.'s captain wasn't going to stick around Washington long enough to enjoy it.  After the match, DeRo said he planned to travel to Toronto on Saturday where he'd watch Canada's U-23's in their Olympic qualifying showdown against Mexico.

The Canadians ended up losing 3-1 Saturday night in Kansas City, narrowly missing out on a chance at the Olympics.  Had they qualified, De Rosario may have also been headed to London.

"Of course I would be honored for a call-up," De Rosario had said earlier this week.  "It's any players dream to take part in world events like the Olympics and World Cup.  That would be a great day for Canadian soccer."

MAN OF THE MATCH 

Despite scoring four goals against Dallas, United were no less indebted to their goalkeeper than usual on Friday night.  Ben Olsen called Joe Willis his man of the match in the post-game press conference, and with good reason.   

The second-year goalie made a pair of impressive stops through the first ten minutes on Friday night, two big plays that kept D.C. from finding themselves in a catastrophic hole.

"If we go down early it changes the whole game," defender Daniel Woolard said afterwards.  "They can play more defensive and not have to stretch themselves out.  It was big.  He's made big saves in every game he's played in."

Four minutes in, a miscommunication between Emiliano Dudar and Kitchen gifted Ricardo Villar a point-blank opportunity in front of Willis.  The University of Denver product jumped off his line and pushed Villar's near-post attempt out for a corner.  Blas Perez then split D.C.'s central backs six minutes later, but Willis was there again using every bit of his 6-foot-5 frame to deny the Panamanian striker.

28 March 12:49 pm

Perry Kitchen returned to practice Wednesday after Monday's heartbreaking Olympic qualifying defeat

Operating on a short week ahead of Friday night's showdown with Dallas, D.C. United underwent a brief practice Wednesday morning. Here are a few notes from the light session, which ended in just over an hour.

OLYMPIC HEARTBREAK

Less than 48 hours after seeing his Olympic dreams dashed in the final moments of the United States' 3-3 draw with El Salvador on Monday night, United midfielder Perry Kitchen was back at practice with the Black-and-Red. By now accustomed to the back-and-forth nature of Olympic duty, Kitchen went right back to his familiar role, leading D.C. through a warm-up before doing some light ball work on the side as his teammates took part in small-sided games.

After practice, Kitchen opened up about Monday evening's heartbreak. The 20-year-old midfielder called the Olympics a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity adding that the failure to advance to London was 'tough to swallow'.

Despite playing three games in five days - and suffering a massive emotional letdown - Kitchen responded authoritatively when asked if he'd be ready if called upon Friday night against Dallas.

"Yea, of course. Honestly I think it's a positive to kind of find a rebound," noted United's second-year midfielder. "[To] get my mind off of it and get back with this team. This is now my main goal and focus so I think it will be positive."

HAMID HOBBLED

D.C. United's second American Olympic entry, goalkeeper Bill Hamid, went off injured in the first half of Monday's match. Head Coach Ben Olsen confirmed that the young goalie would undergo further tests late Wednesday on his left ankle, adding that the preliminary reports on Hamid's health ranged from a sprain to a bone bruise.

"If the scans say he's ready to go and he shows up tomorrow we'll have a decision to make," Olsen told reporters after practice. "I think Joe [Willis] has been fine and we trust Joe if we have to use him."

Olsen's faith in his back-up is understandable. Willis has earned a shutout in two of his five career starts, with both blank sheets coming against Vancouver.

FINAL FOUR FEVER

Just like offices across America, D.C. United's locker room is wrapped up in March Madness. With only three games left before the brackets are officially complete, a pair of wingers are poised to take the title of top hoops prognosticator.

Rookie Nick DeLeon and Chris Pontius enter the Final Four tied for first place. Both midfielders have Kansas winning it all, but DeLeon picked Louisville - his alma mater - to make the national title game alongside the Jayhawks while Pontius chose Kentucky as his other finalist.

"I'll be screaming at the TV for sure," laughed DeLeon, who sports a Louisville tattoo on his right arm.

At the other end of the spectrum is midfielder Danny Cruz. In charge of organizing the friendly locker room competition, Cruz was in last place entering the Sweet 16.

22 March 12:51 pm

Lance Rozeboom injured his knee in practice and will fly to D.C. for further evaluation

Some notes from the road as United prepares for the third match of its season on Saturday night.   

ROZEBOOM INJURED

After an impressive preseason run which earned him his first professional contract earlier this month, rookie midfielder Lance Rozeboom injured his left knee during practice this week.  Though United’s medical staff has not made a final diagnosis, Rozeboom will not be available for Saturday's match in Vancouver. 

Some notes from the road as United prepares for the third match of its season on Saturday night.   

ROZEBOOM INJURED

After an impressivepreseason run which earned him his first professional contract earlier thismonth, rookie midfielder Lance Rozeboom injured his left knee during practice this week.  Though United’s medicalstaff has not made a final diagnosis, Rozeboom will not be available forSaturday's match in Vancouver. 

The injury comes at themost disappointing juncture for Rozeboom, who was fresh off his first selectionto United's matchday side.  While he did not enter Sunday's contest against the Galaxy, the rookie out of NewMexico was available for selection after being left out of the top eighteen forthe season opener. 

Rozeboom will return toD.C. late Thursday afternoon for further evaluations.

OLYMPIC QUALIFYING

For a pair of D.C. Unitedstarters, the long road to London begins Thursday night when the U.S. U-23squad takes on Cuba for the first of three Olympic qualifying group phasematches.  Both Bill Hamid and PerryKitchen are expected to contribute heavily - and will likely start - againstthe underdog Cuban side.

"We are definitelyfeeling very good," Kitchen said from Nashville earlier this week.  "We are taking this one game at atime.  We know each match will betough and we are not looking past Cuba. [The three matches] do come quick though, so win, lose or tie we have tochange our focus.  We have to keepplugging through and get good results."

Midfielder Andy Najarwill also represent United at the qualifying tournament when he suits up forHonduras as they open group play on Friday against Panama.  Thursday's U.S. match will be televisedlive on Universal Sports Network and streamed live on concacaf.com.  Kickoff is slated for 9:00 p.m. from LPField.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU

Northern Virginia residentMichael Quin was one of seven Marines who passed away earlier this week whentwo helicopters collided during a training exercise in Yuma, Arizona.  Quin, who captained the soccer teamwhile attending Purcellville's Loudoun Valley High School, was a faithful D.C. United fan andhis family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the SemperFi Fund or United's charitable arm, United for D.C.  

United's players, coachesand staff thank Michael for his service and sacrifice while keeping the entireQuin family in our thoughts and prayers.