Some notes from D.C. United training today at the RFK Auxiliary fields.
* United Coach Ben Olsen started off his interview session today by asking me some questions about the article I wrote about the struggles of MLS to get its younger players on the field, specifically homegrown signings. I’m going to use that as an endorsement and a way to insert a shameless plug and a link to the story here.
D.C. United continues to find ways to get games for its younger players; the team announced today it was sending defender Ethan White on a weekend loan to the Richmond Strikers to get some playing time.
White is returning from knee surgery.
“Ethan needs games,” Olsen said. “Right now he’s not going to play into the 18, so we need to get guys games. We believe in that, that’s why we sent Conor [Shanosky to Ft. Lauderdale]. If you’re not going to get consistent games, you need to get them. Reserve games, it’s not enough and they’re different.”
Olsen said it is only a weekend loan because White factors into the team’s plans this season, especially should the team need defensive depth.
“Ethan is still a guy I know if we get in trouble that we can rely on him in games right now, he’s done it before,” Olsen said. “So if center back goes down and we need an extra defender I’ve got no problems putting him in the lineup.”
* I asked Olsen if he had quickly forwarded an itinerary for his MLS All-Star weekend to headquarters so he would not be asked to coach the All-Star team after news of Peter Nowak’s dismissal as head coach of the Philadelphia Union.
“I don’t think that’ll be an issue,” Olsen said, laughing. “They should let [interim coach] John [Hackworth ] do it. He’s there; he’s closest, make the least amount of time in commute. Why complicate it?”
* D.C. United went through its own coaching change and interim tag a couple years ago with Olsen, and both Olsen and the players said they understood the charge of energy it would likely bring to Philadelphia in its first game since the change.
“It’s not too much of our concern; we understand the situation and I think we understand that there’s always an emotional response when you have new coach,” Olsen said. “In particular, a coach I think the team is behind. So yeah. It was going to be an emotional game regardless.”
* Chris Pontius said he was good to go after getting some time in the reserve game. And Olsen said Dwayne De Rosario and Dejan Jakovic would be ready to play after returning from international duty with Canada.
De Rosario said it was wait-and-see: “We’ll take it one step at a time right now. Obviously going to see tomorrow how my body feels, make a decision by then and talk to the coaches and see what they decide as well.”
* Grant Wahl has an interesting piece today online for Sports Illustrated in which Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko says he is eyeing a move to MLS after his contract with Dynamo Kiev comes up in July. Most interesting, Shevchenko’s wife has family in Bethesda and the striker is a member at Congressional Country Club.
“We come and visit [D.C.] every year,” Shevchenko told Wahl.
The 35-year-old striker showed with his two-goal performance in Ukraine’s 2-1 win over Sweden in Euro 2012 that he is still able to produce at the highest levels of international competition.
Nothing definitive from Shevchenko about wanting to come to D.C., but just an interesting connection.