Will Charlie Davies make his long-awaited first start for D.C. United on Saturday night at Toronto FC? It’s looking that way.
Davies would’ve started at Colorado on April 3 but a groin ailment sidelined him the day before the match. As a precaution, he didn’t play in the U.S. Open Cup qualifier last Wednesday and, because of the inactivity, came off the bench again Saturday. He scored his MLS-leading fourth goal in the waning moments of a 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy at RFK Stadium.
During Tuesday’s training session, Davies partnered with Josh Wolff in one group while Joseph Ngwenya with Blake Brettschneider manned the other.
Asked about Davies’s starting prospects, Coach Ben Olsen said: “We’ll see. We’ll evaluate everybody this week and we’ll make a decision about who starts.”
Speaking in general about players shuttling in and out of the lineup, he explained: “I don’t know if you need the same 11 out there every weekend. To me, it’s a consistent philosophy or a consistent way we want to play. You can plug that in any week and still have similar results. Everybody adds a little bit different of a thing, but I’m not so concerned with having that set 11. I want to develop a team that, if we have two guys out, pop those guys in and we’re okay. If they do well and they find a rhythm, we stay with that. Certain areas it would be nice to get a partnership. Certainly up top. We’ve got to find two that really start to gel a little bit.”
In Tuesday’s practice, the Davies-Wolff squad included Chris Pontius and Fred on the flanks, with Dax McCarty and Clyde Simms in the middle, and Marc Burch, Perry Kitchen, Dejan Jakovic and Chris Korb in the back.
*Don’t expect to see defender Jed Zayner anytime soon after aggravating a hamstring injury in the middle of the last week. Defender Rodrigo Brasesco (groin) worked out on the side Tuesday but should be available Saturday, and defender Devon McTavish (concussion) and midfielder Junior Carreiro (ankle) remain out.
*After recovering from a broken left wrist ahead of schedule, goalkeeper Steve Cronin is back in the mix. He played 45 minutes in a scrimmage against the University of Maryland on Sunday and will begin competing for first-team playing time when he comes off the disabled list in two weeks.
“I’ve been taking good reps and feel sharp,” he said. “I’m pretty surprised I’m at the point I am right now, but I’m thankful. I’m not holding anything back in training.”
*The April 22 reserve match vs. the New York Red Bulls in Washington has been moved to Sept. 13. United’s Open Cup qualifying slate cluttered the schedule.