Assuming he’s selected to Honduras’ roster, D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar will confront gold medal favorites Spain at the Olympic Games this summer.
Honduras, the runner-up at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament last month, will play Morocco in Glasgow, Spain in Newcastle and Japan in Coventry in Group D.
“I saw we got a tough group,” Najar said after United training Tuesday morning. “We know Spain has an incredible group. Even though they are young, they have tremendous experience. We know they’re the main candidate to win the Olympics, but we are not going to make it easy for them, by any means.”
While Najar bolstered his standing with the under-23 squad at the qualifying tournament, his status with the Honduras senior team remains unclear. The Catrachos will play El Salvador in a June 2 friendly at RFK Stadium ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Canada on June 8 and 12, respectively. (United doesn’t have any league matches between May 27 and June 15.)
Meantime, Najar has fallen to second choice on the right side of Coach Ben Olsen’s midfield. He played 72 minutes Wednesday against the Montreal Impact but didn’t appear in Sunday’s 4-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls.
Olsen “has been very supportive so far,” said Najar, the 2010 MLS rookie of the year. “We know there are much better players on the team this year. We have Danny [Cruz] in my spot. He’s been doing a terrific job, so I just have to keep working.”
If selected to the Olympic roster, Najar would probably miss three MLS matches.
*Center back Dejan Jakovic, who has missed two matches with an ankle injury, did not practice Tuesday and seems unlikely to be available for this Saturday’s match against the Houston Dynamo at RFK.
*Don’t let the hat trick fool you: Chris Pontius says he is still not 100 percent fit. “I’m not there yet,” the MLS player of the week said, “but I’m very close.”
*Midfielder Marcelo Saragosa, who has missed three matches since his father’s death, is scheduled to rejoin the club Wednesday.
“It will be great to have him back,” Olsen said. “We’ll speak to him to see where he is [with his fitness], but I know the guys miss him and he’s chomping at the bit to come home and get back to soccer.”
*Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra has returned to third-division Charleston for a month-long loan with the injury-weakened Battery.
*Olsen, on partnerships and chemistry: “It’s good, it’s getting there. We still have a long way to go. This group still has to prove that we’re consistent winners. Off the field, on the field, the group seems to be fighting for each other and putting in blue-collar efforts that make us tough to play against. That’s a start, and then we can work on the soccer side more and more and hopes that gets better.”
Which brings up the ugly fact that United has not won consecutive league matches since June 2009.....
“Look, if we win and tie, win and tie, win and tie for the rest of the year, I am okay with that.”
*Breaking news: After one match styling corn rows, rookie midfielder Nick DeLeon says he will let them out today. “I might go back to them in a couple of months. I like to switch it up every now and then. There’s not much you can do with all of this hair. I’ll just let it go and go and go.”
*Ryan Richter, who was on trial with United throughout preseason before being released, was named USL player of the week after recording a goal and an assist in Charleston’s 3-0 win over Charlotte.
*Soccer Outsider Jeff Maurer reflects on United’s win over the Red Bulls and grades the DCU players.