United will take more players than usual to a road match, in part to have last-minute roster options but also because, with a victory over the Red Bulls and Houston advancement over Kansas City, D.C. would fly from New York to Texas on Thursday for the opener of the two-leg conference finals Saturday afternoon.
*Right back Andy Najar, who is suspended for the second leg after being sent off during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium, has been called up by Honduras for a Nov. 14 friendly against Peru at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
If United is eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday, it’s not an issue. However, if United advances, United would ask the Honduran federation to allow him to remain with the club full-time. The conference finals are this weekend and the following weekend.
The friendly falls on a FIFA fixture date, so Honduras is within its right to demand his release. However, compromise is not out of the question.
“We’ve always been respectful of the requests and we let Andy go well in advance of training camp for the Olympics,” United General Manager Dave Kasper said. “We’ve extended the olive branch in the past, this is a long-term relationship and we hope they understand our situation with the playoffs.”
Kasper said the sides will talk further Thursday. Complicating the situation is a possible multi-game suspension for Najar, who flung the ball at referee Jair Marrufo. United expects to hear about further punishment later today or tomorrow.
*Hey, Robbie Russell, have you been told if you’re starting in place of Najar?
“I have not and I wouldn’t answer that anyway if I had,” he said with a good-natured grin.
*Reserve defender Ethan White, who has not played in a league match this season, was helped off the field after practice with a left ankle injury and examined by a team doctor in the locker room. A diagnosis was not immediately available. [UPDATE: Sprained ankle, third one this season, he said.]
*The grim game-time weather outlook at Red Bull Arena: rain/snow mix is likely, 37 degrees, 24-mph wind.
I will have much more about the match in the formal print story (available online late today). Here, though, is an appetizer from defender Dejan Jakovic: “I’ll take my players over their players any day.”