D.C. United returned to work Tuesday following the 0-0 draw with the Seattle Sounders at RFK Stadium. United will return to action Saturday against the New England Revolution in Foxborough, Mass. (4 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet/DC).
A few notes and Ben Olsen comments to share:
*Defensive midfielder Marcelo Saragosa rejoined the club after missing two matches. He was in his native Brazil to spend time with a family member who suffered a medical emergency.
*Contary to a report in Honduras, United is not in talks with Honduran under-23 defender Wilmer Crisanto, according to General Manager Dave Kasper. Crisanto excelled at the recent CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.
*Homegrown midfielder-defender Conor Shanosky, 20, on a season-long loan to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the second-tier NASL, played 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton.
*Final details concerning United’s proposed friendly against an Italian club July 28 at FedEx Field should be completed by next week. My understanding is that United will play Juventus in the first game of a doubleheader featuring Chelsea vs. AC Milan.
For Olsen’s thoughts on Branko Boskovic, a brewing goalkeeping competition, left back Daniel Woolard, Nick DeLeon’s hair and this Saturday’s first meeting against old friend Clyde Simms.....
Bill Hamid, D.C. United’s first-choice keeper for two years, is back in his regular training routine after spraining an ankle at the Olympic qualifying tournament. In his four-game absence, Joe Willis has played very well.
So what happens when Hamid is ready for full-time duty?
Coach Ben Olsen worked around the question by saying, “What would you do? There’s a lot of [difficult decisions]. It’s not just the goalkeepers; there are a lot of guys who deserve to be on the field. ... It’s a nice problem to have. It certainly is a little bit different than the last couple of years, when you felt like you didn’t have great choices.”
Later, he added: “We’re going to need a lot of bodies to get through a tough stretch of games.”
Transation: Expect to see players shuttling in and out of the lineup.
So how do you balance it and tell guys who have played regularly in the past they won’t start on a particular day?
“You can’t keep everyone happy. I realized that pretty early in this job. You can coddle them and play psychologist all you want. At the end of the day, they’re not going to be happy. We have a lot of games in a short amount of time coming up [nine over five weeks]. ... They know I have faith in them because I have used them throughout the season already and they’ve all done pretty well.”
*Left back Daniel Woolard has been in excellent form lately, defending admirably and adding to the attack with overlapping runs and sharp crosses.
“Woolard is a guy you almost just forget about because he goes out there and does his job,” Olsen said. “He isn’t a huge personality off the field; he just goes about his business.”
With Woolard and Robbie Russell locking down the flanks, Emiliano Dudar making an impact in the middle and Brandon McDonald and Dejan Jakovic alternating inside, United has conceded just one goal in the past three matches — and that one goal, in the Dallas game, should’ve been disallowed for being offside.
“Overall, our team defense has been better,” Olsen said. “Every guy is committed to doing both sides. Even [attacking midfielder Dwayne DeRosario] has really put on a little bit more of a blue-collar effort when the ball turns over. It helps when you get 10 guys on the field doing that. Collectively, you can be a tough game to play against.”
*For the fourth consecutive match, Branko Boskovic, one of the club’s highest-paid players, entered midway through the second half after starting the opener. Boskovic is still not back in form after recovering from major knee surgery last year.
“He looks up to speed,” Olsen said. “He’s coming in and doing what we want him to do, and that’s dictate the game, get us a rhythm. He’s still not 100 percent. When guys go out for long stretches of time, when you are playing at this level, it takes time. But he’s been working hard, doing the extra stuff in training to make sure he’s getting to 100 percent.”
“He told me he was going to corn-row it at one point. I keep asking him what he’s going to do. He’s like, ‘Man, I don’t have time.’ I was like, ’What do you mean you don’t have time? I don’t have time! I’ve got two kids and a real job! You don’t have time to get your hair rowed?’ That’s crazy talk.”
*I asked Olsen about facing New England midfielder Clyde Simms, a former teammate who joined the Revolution this season after seven years in Washington. Olsen interrupted me to ask: “Is he saying anything yet?” — a reference to ex-DCU defender Marc Burch’s pointed comments last week before Seattle’s visit.
“Those guys all have a lot of secrets on me — that’s the big problem with trading guys.”
On a sentimental note, Olsen added: “I will always root for Clyde.”
Except on Saturday?
“Except on Saturday.”