Notebook: Pontius on USMNT and Russell injury update
With Washington under a heat advisory yet again, D.C. United worked through another trying practice this morning. The Black-and-Red had a few more spectators than usual asthe team opened the outdoor session to local youth coaches for a goalkeepertraining exercise. Afterwards,assistant coach Pat Onstad walked D.C.’s three first team goalies through some drills before doing a variety of demonstrations with participants from theclub’s summer camp program. Over 50 coaches from more than thirty youth soccer organizations were in attendance.
A few more notes from Wednesday’s session:
Things didn’t look good when Robbie Russell went out injuredin the 40th minute of Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Houston. On Wednesday, Head Coach Ben Olsen confirmed the bad news.
“It’s probably going to be a while,” Olsen said of Russell’sabsence. “We don’t know the timeframe,but it’s going to be several weeks for sure.”
Olsen quickly noted that the staff has plenty of faith inChris Korb, who is expected to fill-in for the veteran at right back.
“It’s never been easy for Korb,” Olsen acknowledged. “He’s in the lineup, he’s out of thelineup – for long stretches. Buthe’s a kid we believe in and we know he can come in and do the job there.”
While the team has all but moved on from Sunday’s defeat inHouston, they haven’t failed to take something away from the humblingresult. It was the first time thisseason that the Black-and-Red have played with only ten men, a situation the team willnow be better prepared for should it arise again later this season.
“I think there is a lesson to be learned when you go down aman,” noted defender Daniel Woolard, who played the full ninety minutes againstthe Dynamo. “The game changes, youcan’t keep possession the same way we were the first ten minutes. We have to change our game plan, makethe game compact and let them have the ball in certain parts of the field.”
Once back inside a refreshingly cool RFK, Chris Pontiusspoke at length for the first time about his selection to the MLS All-Starroster. Predictably, the topic ofa future debut with the national team came up.
But Pontius, who has twice been called into U.S. camp, refusedto look too far ahead.
“This is my club and you don’t get called into the nationalteam unless you are having success at the club level,” explained D.C.’s leadingscorer. “This is first andforemost here. It’d be an honor to get called in, but that’s not my decision.”