The Black-and-Red endured some trying travel during recent road trip
After a week long trip that took them from D.C. to San Jose to Toronto and back to Washington, United's players were clearly glad to be back at home on Tuesday. Here are a few notes from the Black-and-Red's first home training session since April.
A single glance at D.C. United's starting backfour against Toronto is all the proof needed of just how hard the Black-and-Redhave been hit by injuries this season. With only one of four central back options available, Head Coach BenOlsen was forced to play three of his defenders out of position in the 2-0 winover TFC.
There was some good news on that front atTuesday's practice as Dejan Jakovic, Ethan White and Emiliano Dudar allparticipated to varying degrees. After taking part in the team warm-up, Jakovic did some conditioning -including sprints - and ball work off to the side. Dudar participated in the warm-up but rested for much of theremainder of the session. White,who underwent knee surgery on March 13, practiced fully.
"It's early," Olsen said when askedabout the possible return of either Jakovic or Dudar. "They went through a little bit today, let's see howthey respond. We'll just keep buildingthem up. We don't know at thispoint."
Robbie Russell, who was held out Saturday for aday of rest after accumulating more minutes than any other United player so farthis season, also practiced.
If United's players looked a little disheveledduring the opening half in Toronto, it's because they probably were. After playing San Jose late onWednesday night, Thursday turned into a nightmarish travel day for theBlack-and-Red.
Following an early wake-up call, the team busdeparted for the airport shortly after 8:00 a.m. Once at San Francisco International Airport, D.C. learnedthat their departure time had been delayed an hour. From there, things only got worse as United's flight toToronto hit severe turbulence moments before landing.
"[There were] a lot of sweaty palms,"Chris Pontius said with a laugh on Tuesday. "A lot of sweat going on. It wasn't fun, but at least we got there safely."
Though they'd landed, the Black-and-Red werefar from home free.
The thunderstorms responsible for the turbulence prevented crews atToronto's airport from reaching United's plane immediately upon arrival. As a result, the Black-and-Red spentanother two hours waiting on the tarmac and didn't arrive at their Torontohotel until well after 11 p.m.