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Preseason another small step forward for DC

Still work to do, but plenty of positives for United to build on

WASHINGTON – Though D.C. United captured the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday, the team isn't about to get carried away.

Last year, the club managed the same feat, only to see the regular season go south right from the start. That's something the coaching staff has raised on more than one occasion.

“I mentioned it,” head coach Ben Olsen told reporters. “Once or twice … or three times."

WASHINGTON – Though D.C. United captured the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday, the team isn't about to get carried away.

Last year, the club managed the same feat, only to see the regular season go south right from the start. That's something the coaching staff has raised on more than one occasion.

“I mentioned it,” head coach Ben Olsen told reporters. “Once or twice … or three times."

There are still positives to build off from the performances down in Charleston. On-loan forward Charlie Davies managed to score in the final game against Toronto and Joseph Ngwenya found the back of the net twice in three games. For a team that struggled to score last season, these are good signs.

“Every year it’s important,” Olsen said. “You always want to start getting those points as early as possible — especially in a league now where a lot of people are rebuilding and there’s a lot of different organizations that are trying to find their identity.”

That aside, plenty of work remains as DC continue to form themselves into a unit. Players are still figuring out each other’s tendencies on the field, and becoming a more formidable attacking unit is a work in progress.

“That stuff has to come, and we have a lot of attacking options, but you have to produce,” midfielder Santino Quaranta said. “It doesn’t matter who’s out there. At some point we have to start scoring goals."

With the season opener against the Columbus Crew less than one week away, DC were back in action training at RFK Stadium's auxiliary fields on Tuesday morning. On the heels of Saturday night’s 2-2 tie with Toronto, Olsen had given the players a couple days off after three long preseason trips.

 

Overall, that final trip turned out to another step forward in preparing for the start of a long regular season.

“I think that’s the trip where we really came together as a group and kind of started to get an identity as a team,”midfielder Dax McCarty said.

Though building identity is a process that will carry into the regular season, McCarty said things have already come a long way since the beginning of preseason. However, he added that the team is by no means a finished product.

“I think we still have a little bit ways to go just in terms of our consistency and the new guys we have put together on the field,” McCarty said.

Notes

Charlie Davies worked out on the side during Tuesday's training.

“He tweaked his groin the other day,” Olsen said. “We’re just being smart with some of the guys we have in that 18 guys that are kind of trying to fight for starting spots right now.”

Davies should be back in action on Wednesday.

Olsen said that goalkeeper Bill Hamid should be back in full training as of Wednesday.

Joe Willis remains in camp as the third-choice goalkeeper, and a deal to sign the third-round draft pick could be reached soon.