D.C. United news & notes

February 26, 2013

D.C. United captain Dwayne De Rosario didn’t directly address former teammate Danny Cruz‘s accusations that he headbutted the Philadelphia midfielder during the preseason finale Saturday against the Union in Kissimmee, Fla.

“It was a scuffle,” De Rosario said after Tuesday’s training session at RFK Stadium. “There was a lot of pushing going on. It was one of those unfortunate things.”

De Rosario, who had declined comment after the match, was red-carded for the incident. Although it didn’t occur in official MLS competition, a league spokesman said the disciplinary committee could review the matter and impose a suspension or fine if the actions are deemed egregious. The game was not televised or streamed online, and it’s unclear whether definitive video of the incident exists.

Asked if were worried about a possible suspension for this Saturday night’s opener at Houston, De Rosario said: “I hope not.”

Coach Ben Olsen said he is aware the league is looking into it. “We’ll see what the verdict is.”

*United’s season opener will appear on NBC Sports Network, the first of several matches slated for national TV coverage this year. However, the club is still negotiating a local package.

It’s not uncommon for talks to extend until the final days of preseason. What’s different this year is that Comcast SportsNet, which has carried DCU games all but one season, is among at least two or three outlets in negotiations. Club officials declined to name other candidates.

The region’s other all-sports channel, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, carries both the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals throughout the spring and summer and does not seem to be an ideal partner for United.

United is seeking to broaden its exposure with a local outlet through a coach’s show and other non-game programming. A pact would likely be for multiple seasons; in the past, United has typically been on a year-to-year agreement.

“We’re vetting multiple opportunities with outlets we greatly admire and respect, and would be good for our brand,” United executive Doug Hicks said. “In the end, we will partner with an outlet that is in the best interests of United and our fans.”

The home opener March 9 against Real Salt Lake is the first possible local TV game, but Hicks said the contract would be in the best interests of the entire season and wouldn’t necessarily include the RFK debut.

*Former U.S. youth international goalkeeper Samir Badr, 20, has joined the club for informal training, filling a practice void in the absence of Joe Willis (foot injury).

Badr was released from a trial with the Columbus Crew late last week. The former Robinson High School student was with United’s youth academy alongside current starter Bill Hamid several years ago before joining Porto in Portugal and then Haras El-Hodood in Egypt. The Port Said stadium tragedy and unrest in Egypt last year prompted the league to shut down indefinitely, leading Badr to pursue other opportunities.

With Willis out, Hamid and third-chioce Andrew Dykstra are slated to travel to Houston.

*From 90 degrees in Orlando on Saturday to the 40s with wind and rain toward the end of training this morning outside of RFK Stadium, United has experienced weather opposites in recent days. The club will practice in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday, then fly to Houston on Friday morning. The Texas outlook Saturday: a high of 61 during the day, a low of 37 late at night and 0 percent chance of rain.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff · February 26, 2013

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