Before being traded to D.C., Danny Cruz spent his first three MLS seasons in Houston
Just over 48 hours from Saturday's Armed Forces and Veterans Appreciation Day showdown with the Houston Dynamo, D.C. United underwent a brief training session Thursday morning. Here are a few notes from the training grounds outside RFK.
FINDING THE ELEVEN
Much has been written of late about thedifficult decisions Ben Olsen has had to make in light of thebetter-than-expected play D.C. is getting out of players who started the 2012season on the bench. Nick DeLeon,Danny Cruz, Maicon Santos, Emiliano Dudar and Joe Willis have all earnedstarting spots despite being reserves less than two months ago against KansasCity. With so many choices Olsenhas shown an early willingness to mix up his line-up, but that may soon change.
"I hope we can get a consistent team outthere that has a very good rhythm," United's coach said this week. "But if we go down a guy or two or[have] suspensions or something like that we are covered."
Whatever issues might arise from having morecapable players than the minutes to satisfy them all are outweighed by thelessons Olsen learned in 2011.
"We've been caught with having 12 or 13[options]," he added. "Then you get a couple of injuries and now you are down the rosterand you are relying on guys that probably shouldn't be out there."
» Create and share your starting XI for Saturday vs Houston Dynamo.
CRUZ ON HOUSTON
All week Danny Cruz has faced questions aboutpreparing to face his former team, and the emotional winger has acknowledgedthe need to keep his feelings in check when kickoff comes Saturday night.
While Cruz has said he has no ill-will towardshis former club, the 22-year-old isn't denying the extra motivation he's foundin looking to prove that Houston's decision to trade him away was the wrongchoice.
"I was a big piece of that puzzle,"Cruz noted. "But, I was alwaysswept under the rug - I felt like - and it's hard when you don't feel like you aregetting a little bit of respect."
Cruz isn't exaggerating his role with theDynamo. After he was re-insertedinto the starting lineup following a 1-1 draw with Chicago on October 1 of last year, Houstonwon five straight matches before falling 1-0 to Los Angeles in MLSCup.