*Now that MLS has announced the home-opening dates for each club and the first four nationally televised matches, we can narrow down D.C. United’s potential opponents for the March 10 home debut:
New York, Dallas, Portland, Philadelphia, Houston, Chivas USA, Montreal and Vancouver are out because their openers have been set. DCU can’t play Colorado, Los Angeles, San Jose or Seattle because those clubs are also slated to host matches on the first weekend. So that leaves Real Salt Lake, Chicago, New England, Toronto, Columbus and Kansas City. My hunch is the Revolution. We will find out in the coming weeks.
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*United declined to exercise reserve midfielder Kurt Morsink’s contract last month, leaving him clear to find a new club through the re-entry draft or free agency. However, Morsink withdrew from re-entry consideration and, from what I can gather, is about to re-sign with United. Morsink, 27, earned $62,000 in 2011 and would probably have to accept a slight paycut. He’s not a vital piece to United’s roster construction but is well-liked, has a positive locker-room presence and provides cover in defensive midfield. The former James Madison University player started 18 league matches in 2010 and only two this year.
*Is United interested in one-time USA prospect Lee Nguyen? Eh, maybe. Nguyen, 25, signed with MLS this week after serving with PSV Eindhoven, Randers and two Vietnamese clubs. A weighted lottery in the near future will determine his club. Clubs are able to opt out. The league wouldn’t have signed him without a few clubs saying they’d be willing to claim him. Nguyen, a Dallas-bred forward who played one season at Indiana University, earned three senior national team caps in 2007.
*With the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying groups set for late March, United players could face one another with a trip to London at stake. If group play unfolds in predictable form, the United States (with a roster that seems likely to include goalkeeper Bill Hamid and midfielder-defender Perry Kitchen) would face Honduras (perhaps with midfielder Andy Najar) in the March 31 semifinals in Kansas City, Kan. The two semifinal winners will represent the region at the Summer Games. All would miss DCU matches if chosen for Olympic qualifying assignments.