As D.C. United prepare this week for their final game of the 2013 season, things just wouldn’t coincide the year’s ongoing trend if there wasn’t some shuffling along the back line.
With Perry Kitchen, who played center back in the previous three matches, unavailable Sunday against Houston (2 pm ET, NBC Sports Network), coach Ben Olsen’s options along the backline are limited.
Ethan White and Dejan Jakovic both are out with injuries, which essentially leaves Daniel Woolard, who has started the last four matches, and Homegrown Player Conor Shanosky as the club’s two center back options. That is, of course, unless Olsen shifts players around a bit to account for Kitchen’s absence.
Still, with plenty to play for against Houston – avoiding setting the MLS record for fewest wins in a season, a positive sendoff for the supporters at RFK Stadium, revenge against the club that knocked D.C. out of the playoffs last year – Shanosky is hoping he gets a chance to make a difference in Sunday’s match.
“Hopefully, if I get my opportunity, I’ll be ready to step in and it’s an opportunity that I need to take,” Shanosky said following Wednesday’s training session. “If my number’s called upon, then hopefully that will be my chance to show myself a little bit more. I’ve been able to get some games, but still not enough. Any time my number’s called, I have to be ready to show myself no matter what the circumstances are.”
The 22-year-old Homegrown Player from Potomac Falls, Va., has played in five MLS matches this year and started three for a total of 335 minutes. While he admitted this season has been difficult, especially given that he rooted for United as a kid, he knows the opportunity to end the year without seeing D.C.’s winless streak extended to 12 matches is one the club must value.
“We dug ourselves in this hole a little bit, but the further we can get out of it the better,” Shanosky said. “Obviously nobody wants to be associated with the worst team in MLS history, even if we did win the Open Cup. But I think all of us, myself included, know that this team is better than our record.”
United will have one final chance to prove that’s the case Sunday before what’s likely to be a busy offseason begins.
“We’ve had our ups and downs this year. If we can just end it well and then take some much-deserved time off and hopefully get away from it a little bit, it’ll help get out of the chaos,” Shanosky said.