Thursday Training Notes
After a day off, United took to the training field to prepare for Chicago on one of the hottest days D.C. has seen in a long time. While those who logged big minutes last weekend and against Richmond on Tuesday took the day to get their legs back, those with fresher legs enjoyed a tough training session. Head Coach Ben Olsen and assistants Chad Ashton and Josh Wolff even got in on the action.
The squad first played possession in a tight space with varying touch restrictions. United progressed to a small-sided scrimmage next and finished the session with a scrimmage, which ended on a Carlos Ruiz bicycle kick goal. With sharp passes and dynamic movement, the team looked hungry and ready for the weekend.
Open Cup – Willis vs. Dykstra
On Tuesday night, D.C. United beat USL PRO affiliate Richmond Kickers in penalty kicks (4-2) in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. After 120 minutes of play, D.C. United goalkeepers Joe Willis and Andrew Dykstra faced off.
“We had a little chuckle about that,” said D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen after the match. “[Andrew] Dykstra knows our guys a little bit better than we knew theirs.”
Willis saved two of the Kickers’ four PKs, helping the Black-and-Red advance to the fourth round of USOC.
“We have a lot of faith in Joe [Willis] in those situations,” said Olsen. “There really wasn’t much of a doubt. He’s as good as anyone I’ve seen.”
Willis and Dykstra will join United on the road against the Chicago Fire on June 2 while Bill Hamid stays in D.C. with the United States Men’s National Team. The USMNT will take on Germany in a friendly – U.S. Soccer’s Centennial Celebration Match – on June 2 at RFK (2:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2).
Shanosky earns first start
Homegrown product Conor Shanosky earned his first start and appearance across all competitions for United on Tuesday night in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. Shanosky went the full 120 minutes at center back next to Daniel Woolard.
Shanosky is currently on loan with the Kickers but is “Cup-tied” with United for the domestic tournament. The talented defender/midfielder has helped Richmond achieve an eight-game unbeaten streak, an undefeated start to the season.
“I really like this relationship,” said Olsen on the affiliation between United and Richmond. “It shows that we can bring guys back and forth…I think it’s a good partnership.”
Signing of Sainey
On May 28, D.C. United signed midfielder Sainey Nyassi. Nyassi made his first DCU appearance at Richmond that night, playing 30 minutes in the U.S. Open Cup third-round match. The Gambian international comes to D.C. from the New England Revolution at a time when United is searching for an offensive spark.
“We are pleased to add Sainey to our roster,” said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper upon signing Nyassi. “He possesses the speed and ability to unlock opposing defenses, and he will provide us with solid cover at wide midfield.”
D.C. United returns to RFK on June 15 to take on Toronto FC. Tickets are on sale now.