D.C. United has asked for defender Perry Kitchen’s early release from the U.S. under-20 national team, which would allow him to play in Saturday’s league match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at RFK Stadium.
The Americans will face host Guatemala on Wednesday night in the CONCACAF quarterfinals, with the winner advancing to the U-20 World Cup this summer. The results of the semifinals and final have no bearing on the qualification process.
“It’s my understanding that he’s coming back,” Coach Ben Olsen said. Ultimately, USA Coach Thomas Rongen will have the final say, United General Manager Dave Kasper said. Rongen, a former DCU head coach, is the club’s TV color commentator.
Kitchen has missed two MLS matches and will be away for tomorrow night’s U.S. Open Cup qualifier against the Philadelphia Union at Maryland SoccerPlex.
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*I asked Olsen if goalkeeper Bill Hamid will make his 2011 debut tomorrow. He tried to hold back a smile before saying: “It might be a good chance for him to play.” I pressed him on it. He repeated the same line.
Asked whether he’ll play, Hamid said: “I’m not sure yet. I hope. I’m ready to play. We’ll see. I’ve made a lot of progress. I was a little rusty, but over the last few weeks, I’ve gained it back day by day. The sharpness, everything is back. I’m flying again. I’m trying to stake my claim to get back in there.”
*Midfielder Clyde Simms (calf) and defender Jed Zayner (hamstring) trained today but forward Charlie Davies (groin) did not.
*Several regulars are expected to sit out tomorrow’s match and prepare for Saturday’s game against the Galaxy. However, “We’ve got a mix of players who are ready to go and we’ll make that decision today and figure out what we have available and go from there,” Olsen said.
*Olsen, on the two upcoming matches: “It’s a big week for us. The Open Cup, we always take pride in it and want to advance and obviously the matchup with L.A. on the weekend.”
*Olsen, on Andy Najar: “I’ve preached to Andy that this is going to be a difficult year for him. I was in the same situation [after winning rookie of the year honors in 1998]. The second year, it’s not that easy. You’ve got expectations, you’ve got people wanting to kick the [%&*$%] out of you and stop you. It’s important for him to still keep the passion and the running off the ball and all the little things that make him special. He knows it and he’s going to keep grinding through it.”
*On Branko Boskovic’s removal early in the second half Sunday: “I thought the game needed a little bit of energy. It’s tough out there and he put a lot of work in early and he looked like he was getting a little fatigued. I have Andy Najar on the bench, and you want to give him a shot to come in and give us a spark.”
*Reflecting on the Colorado loss: “As I look at the game and fine-tooth it, it wasn’t that bad. There was some really good stuff and battling back and getting that goal, we were really where we wanted to be at that point in the game. Now, from then on, a couple plays cost us, and that’s the difference. They made some big plays and we botched a couple.
“Look, this is a process with us. We are always optimistic and think everything is going to click right away, but the reality is, it’s a new group. We’re a young group and we are going to have days where we learn hard lessons. The important thing is we learn from them. We learned from the New England lesson: The next game, our energy was right, and now we learn from maybe getting out on [defending] crosses, finishing our chances [against the Rapids]. Those five minutes after we score a goal, are we sharp enough to make sure nothing is coming down in those next important, crucial moments so we can hold off and at least get a point in a tough place to play? I’m not discouraged; I’m disappointed. It’s never fun to lose, but again, this is a process where we are going to learn week in and week out who we are and we are going to get better.
“Overall, we were there, but it’s still not good enough. As long as we do take lessons as a young group, and I have lessons too I can take from that game, some of the things I could’ve done better. It’s certainly the staff, we can do a better job too, and we’re learning as well.”
So what did you learn?
“I can’t tell you what I learned,” he said with a grin. “It’s top secret. It’s for me to lose sleep over, not you guys.”
*On Sunday, the United reserves will join the Maryland and Virginia college squads for 45-minute matches at Ludwig Field in College Park: DCU vs. Virginia at noon, Maryland vs. DCU at 1 and Maryland vs. Virginia at 2.