Dwayne De Rosario, acquired by D.C. United in a major trade Monday, is scheduled to join the MLS club for training Thursday and should be available to play in Saturday’s league match against the Philadelphia Union at RFK Stadium.
De Rosario has had a hectic month, splitting time between the New York Red Bulls and Canada’s national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and has been given a few days to get settled.
“He’s got a lot of miles right now,” Coach Ben Olsen said. “We want to be smart; I want to talk to him about that. We’ll make that decision [about playing] later in the week. But he takes very good care of himself and I’m sure he’ll be chomping at the bit to get back on the field and help this team out.”
Much more on DeRo and DCU tidbits....
Despite De Rosario’s arrival and midfielder Dax McCarty’s departure in the trade with the New York Red Bulls, Olsen doesn’t plan to dramatically alter the way his team plays.
“It gives you more options, but we’re not throwing what we built out the window because we got some additions,” he said. “DeRo has played 4-4-2, he’s played 4-3-3, he’s played it all and he’s played a lot of positions. I don’t plan on mixing up formations or the way we go about our business. Each player brings different dynamics. That’s the special part about DeRo – he brings these intangibles that you can’t coach and he’s been doing it effectively for years.”
Once he is fully integrated, De Rosario seems likely to play a central attacking midfield role behind Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies. With Chris Pontius enjoying a fine season and Andy Najar becoming more influential, United’s front five is imposing on paper.
“He has the ability to pull off the unexpected and the incredible,” Wolff said, “but also has the ability to pull off the simple plays.”
Added reserve forward Joseph Ngwenya: “I’m excited because he’s going to bring a lot of athleticism and be a game-changer. He can come up with something magical.”
United players acknowledge the club was missing an attacking element in central midfield.
“Anyone who has watched our games this year can say that,” Pontius said. “So for defenses to worry about that now, it’s going to be tough to stop our offense.”
Olsen is hoping the De Rosario acquisition will help secure a playoff berth after three years without postseason play. In an Eastern Conference lacking clear favorites for the three automatic playoff berths, United senses an opportunity to make a move in the standings.
“It doesn’t really speed up my expectations of the team because my expectations are we make the playoffs,” Olsen said. “Can he help us in that? Hopefully. If we integrate him and things click and we get a couple bounces, this could push us forward. But it will take a little bit of time. When you throw new guys in, it always takes a game or two for them to find a rhythm and a couple weeks of training to figure out exactly what’s what.”
As for McCarty’s abrupt exit, “I’m sorry to see Dax go; he’s 24, he’s got a great career ahead of him,” Wolff said. “He’s a good player, but for us, it didn’t work the way we wanted.”
United also addressed defensive vulnerability by acquiring defender Brandon McDonald from the San Jose Earthquakes for allocation money Monday. McDonald practiced with the club Tuesday.
“Our depth up top now, our attacking options, are pretty good,” Olsen said. “We’ll be tough to stop in that end. We’ve just got to close up shop in the back a little better. Our team defending all-around has not been good enough.”
In other news.....
*Defender Adrian Reid, 26, who made three appearances for Jamaica in the Gold Cup, began a week-long trial and is likely to play in Sunday’s reserve match against Philadelphia.
*Forward Charlie Davies suffered a minor ankle injury last weekend and sat out practice. He’s day to day, Olsen said.
*Defender Jed Zayner, who missed substantial time with hamstring injuries, sprained a knee Tuesday.
*Defender Marc Burch (hamstring) is progressing steadily and might be available next week.
*United will wear its new red uniform at home for the first time this Saturday.