Following days off on Sunday and Monday, D.C. United hit the training field hard at RFK Stadium Tuesday morning. After a brisk warm-up, the team broke down into possession exercises prior to extended rounds of 5 v 5 on a field about the size of the 18-yard box. The small-sided games featured numerous goals, a heightened focus and good attitude – all positive signs for the club ahead of its matchup with the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night at 5 p.m.
Narrow focus for the Black-and-Red
Despite dropping to 1-4-1 (4 points) on the season, Head Coach Ben Olsen dismissed any questions of the guys losing spirit in the locker room. “There’s never been any issues of spirit with this group,” said Olsen following a high-energy training session. “Right now, we need a very narrow focus and that focus is winning this weekend,” he continued.
Ready for a fight
In the short three-year history between D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union, there has been no love lost over the course of seven regular-season games. There has been 166 fouls, 22 yellow cards and 10 red cards in the short span – and that doesn’t include other competitions like the U.S. Open Cup or pre-season play (where the two sides met twice this February).
“It does seem to get pretty chippy – that’s OK with me,” said Olsen. “They have been good games.”
Check-in with the Richmond Kickers
Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, midfielder Conor Shanosky and defender Taylor Kemp have each played all 180 minutes of the Richmond Kickers season thus far – helping the club to a 1-0-1 start. Forward Casey Townsend has played every minute but one, logging 179 minutes over the two games. Townsend, following a brace on Saturday in a 4-1 win over the Charleston Battery, leads the club with two goals in two games.
"We know [Townsend] could score goals, so nothing is off the table," said Olsen when asked about the possibility of recalling Townsend for Sunday’s match against the Union.