DC Notebook: International call-ups leave lineup questions
WASHINGTON — With a hectic schedule looming, D.C. United will need all hands on deck as they make a final push towards a playoff spot.
One of the biggest concerns this week will be the availability of Andy Najar and Dwayne De Rosario, who both took part in two international games in the past five days. DC face Chivas USA on the road on Saturday.
“I’ve got to evaluate how much they’ve played, where they’re at, and speak to them,” DC head coach Ben Olsen said. “A lot of different factors will go into that, [like] travel. We’ll see how that goes later in the week.”
Najar, who earned his first call-up to the Honduran national team, played in both friendlies with los Catrachos, coming on as a substitute on Saturday against Colombia before starting and playing the first half in San Pedro Sula on Tuesday in a loss to Paraguay.
The status of Canadian international De Rosario could be a bit harder to judge. The 33-year-old played 90 minutes in both of Canada’s World Cup qualifiers, including a 3-0 win at Puerto Rico on Tuesday.
The pair, along with goalkeeper Bill Hamid – who traveled to Belgium but didn’t play for the US – are all expected to arrive in the nation’s capital at various points on Wednesday, where they’ll be evaluated before the team travels to Los Angeles ahead of Saturday’s match.
Lingering injuries a slight concern
Along with the internationals, Olsen has a couple of injury concerns on his team. Central defender Dejan Jakovic, who had to withdraw from Canada’s squad after suffering a hamstring injury, didn’t train on Tuesday and is listed as out in the updated injury report.
“He’s still getting treatment on that and trying to progress,” Olsen said. “We’ll take a look at him this week and see where he’s at.”
Forward Josh Wolff, dealing with a hip flexor strain, is listed as questionable and could be in the mix for this weekend, while goalkeeper Steve Cronin is doubtful with a shoulder strain.
One player who won’t be in the mix but who was out at training on Tuesday was midfielder Branko Boskovic. The Montenegrin is four months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL, and was seen jogging and kicking the ball around on the side.
However, there’s still limited expectations on a possible return this year.
“It’s a tease,” Olsen said. “I still think he has a ways to go, but it’s nice to see him out here. I’m really happy for him because I know having been through these injuries, just to get on the field and get some touches around the guys, it changes your whole demeanor with rehab and life.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.