A few notes as D.C. United prepares for the club's lone road match in April
After a rare day off on Wednesday, United's players were back at RFK Thursday for preparations ahead of Friday's departure for New England. Afterwards, we caught up on some of the key storylines ahead of Saturday's Eastern Conference clash.
About halfway through Thursday’s intense training session,captain Dwayne De Rosario called a players-only huddle at midfield. Though he didn’t discuss the specificsof what was said, veteran defender Robbie Russell spoke after practice aboutthe message shared during the brief meeting.
“It’s an attempt by DeRo to get us together and voice someopinions when we get choppy with each other,” said Russell. “[He’s] trying to keep us on point andfocused and that we are all working together towards one goal. Sometimes tempers get heated but that’snot what is important, it’s the objective that’s important.”
When United visits New England on Saturday it will be apseudo-homecoming for Russell, who spent most of his teen years in Amherst,Massachusetts. Despite coming offinjured against Seattle, Russell trained fully Thursday and should be fit forselection in New England.
Since defender Emiliano Dudar’s inclusion in the startingeleven, United have allowed just a single goal over the club’s last threematches. Despite multiple changesalong D.C.’s back line against Seattle, the experienced Argentine was able toefficiently organize the Black-and-Red’s defensive efforts.
“Sure, there were changes, but every player who had to stepin has shown that they are capable,” Dudar said Thursday in a Spanish-languageinterview. “Judging from what Isee in practice, I think each player on this team can play at a high enough levelto be a starter.”
Since replacing Dejan Jakovic at halftime against LosAngeles, Dudar has not missed a single minute while patrolling the center of D.C.’sdefense.
HAMID CONTINUES TO IMPROVE
Bill Hamid was back to his old tricks on Thursday, showingno ill effects from the ankle injury that has hobbled him since returning fromOlympic qualifying duty. Duringone particularly impressive sequence, Hamid denied both Hamdi Salihi and ChrisPontius from point-blank range in a rapid-fire finishing drill.
“Bill looked good,” Head Coach Ben Olsen acknowledgedafterwards. “He made some prettyimpressive saves today. I think he’sstill getting his feet under him from the injury, but he looks good.”
Although the coach wouldn’t go as far as to name a starter, Olsendid confirm after practice that Hamid would join Joe Willis in D.C.'s traveling goalie contingent to New England.