United remains focused after De Rosario injury news
The news hit D.C. United’s locker room like a ton of bricks Thursday morning:
Dwayne De Rosario out 10-12 weeks with a grade III MCL sprain in his knee. The captain’s season – effectively – over.
“We feel for him, he’s our brother and teammate,” said goalkeeper Bill Hamid after training. “He’s an unbelievable player and an unbelievable teammate, but we have to keep looking forward. We have a job to do right now… we have playoffs to get to.”
That ‘job’ began anew within minutes of digesting Thursday’s difficult news. Ben Olsen held a closed practice, presumably evaluating his options for a midfield and attack that will now miss the league’s reigning MVP.
Though there’s clearly no replacing De Rosario – he was involved in 19 of the club’s 43 goals this season – many are pointing to midfielder Branko Boskovic, who hasn’t started since August 11, to step into United’s midfield. Asked specifically about Boskovic, Olsen noted that it would take far more than a little extra effort from any one player if D.C. are to return to the postseason without their talisman.
“There’s no one guy or two guys that are going to replace Dwayne,” said Olsen. “We aren’t going to go get them in the league -not too many teams are looking to give up 100 goal scorers for a fourth round draft pick. This is who we are and everybody has to give a little bit more. This is doable.”
As the gathered media offered up a series of questions about what D.C. had just lost, Olsen countered with what the group might gain during De Rosario’s impending absence.
“If anything I think there is a higher percentage chance that it could gel us,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s going to happen but I could see it happening more than these guys throwing in the towel. That is not in this group’s makeup.”
For many of D.C.’s players, the next seven weeks may seem familiar. The Black-and-Red faded from last year’s playoff race after starters Chris Pontius and Dejan Jakovic were lost to injury in September.
The memory of that stretch still stings those inside RFK, but the lessons learned in late 2011 could now prove invaluable.
“We don’t need anybody doing an unbelievable job, we just need everyone doing their job,” said Pontius. “It’s an opportunity for some of the guys who have seen DeRo lead the team and watched him do it, and now it’s our turn to step up and lead these guys – hopefully – to the playoffs.”