On a sunny and gorgeous day in the nation’s capital, D.C. United took to the training grounds to prepare for the Atlantic Cup finale this Saturday, Aug. 31 (8 p.m. ET; NBC Sports Network). After warming up, the Black-and-Red ran through a few passing patterns before scrimmaging on smaller fields. Split into four teams, the groups switched between playing each other on small goals and regulation nets, with emphasis placed on two-touch passing and one-touch finishing.
Midfielder/forward Chris Pontius returned to the practice fields today for warm-ups and passing drills before heading inside to do yoga with the full team. United’s longest-tenured player last appeared in a competitive match on Aug. 7 when the Black-and-Red defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 in the U.S. Open Cup semis.
“It will be nice to get Chris back and have everybody that we need, but it’s still a good group,” said Head Coach Ben Olsen. “I believe in them. I’m excited for the weekend and I hope they are as well.”
Eighteen-year-old Homegrown player Collin Martin started fall classes (American History and Astronomy) yesterday at George Washington University. Having spent one year at Wake Forest University before signing with United, Martin hopes to earn his college degree while playing professionally full-time.
First day of class at GW! I feel like a freshman again. Transfer status. Anyways, the grind starts here— Collin Martin (@martcw12) August 26, 2013
“History, English, Journalism, Communication,” Martin listed out as possible majors he would like to pursue.
The son of a pediatric surgeon and an early graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Martin understands the value of an education.
“Ever since I was in school, grades were always really important to me,” said Martin. “And just learning – I love to learn and I understand that my career is only going to last so long.”
Atlantic Cup Finale Looming
The Black-and-Red heads north to Harrison, NJ this weekend to defend its Atlantic Cup title, with this road match against New York determining the 2013 trophy-holder. Having tied once and lost once to the Red Bulls this year, D.C. must be victorious by two goals to claim its 10th Atlantic Cup win since 2002.
“[We’re] going up to New York and trying to play a bit of a spoiler role, said Olsen. “They’re a very, very tough team to play at home, so we’ll have to be ready.”