D.C. United news and notes

D.C. United’s Chris Pontius is out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in the first half of a U.S. Open Cup match Wednesday.

“We’ve just got to wait and see how long it takes him,” Coach Ben Olsen said after Friday’s training session. “Sometimes it takes a week, sometimes it takes a couple of months. So we’ll just wait.”

Olsen said he has not yet watched replays of Philadelphia’s challenges that led to the injury and did not want to comment until he reviewed them.

Defenders James Riley (adductor) and Ethan White (hip flexor) are also out of Saturday night’s match against Toronto FC at RFK Stadium. Olsen said he is hopeful midfielder Kyle Porter will be available after sitting out the Open Cup game with a sore calf.

Enduring additional injuries and playing for the second time in four days, “It’s not ideal,” Olsen said. “With a quick turnaround, we put a lot into that game [Wednesday], for reasons I don’t necessarily need to mention probably. But we’ll have to gut it out” Saturday.

UPDATE (5:40 p.m.): United and Brazilian central midfielder Raphael Augusto (seven league matches, five starts) have parted ways. They mutually agreed to terminate his contract, the club announced. He was on loan from Fluminense. Augusto is the second foreign player dropped in recent weeks, joining Panamanian midfielder Marcos Sanchez, whose roster slot was filled by free agent Sainey Nyassi. United is in the market for international help. The transfer window opens July 9 but sides can agreed to a deal before then.

*Defender-midfielder Alain Rochat, acquired last week from Vancouver, seems likely to make his D.C. debut against Toronto.

*United forward Carlos Ruiz reported to Guatemala’s national team for tonight’s friendly against Argentina in Guatemala City (10 p.m. ET, GolTV).

*Coming off a quality performance and playing at home against teams with losing records the rest of the month, Olsen is cautiously optimistic.

“We’re moving in the right direction. But we can talk about it all we want. It’s still: Can we go out and prove it in the league? We’ve done a good job in the Open Cup and now we have to focus on getting three points in the regular season. The reality is we can skip a team [in the standings] for the first time in a while. We can not be in last place after this game, so that is a real focus for us.”

*Olsen will face Toronto Coach Ryan Nelsen, his former United teammate, for the first time.

“I have an enormous amount of respect for him as a player and he has done a good job there, setting the right tone, the right atmosphere around that club. They have a lot of resources there and they will continue to build something hopefully special.”

After posting a hat trick Wednesday, can Dwayne De Rosario respond again on short notice?

“He is energized from that game. When we’ve seen him in a good rhythm and on fire, he seems to bring energy with that. He played with a chip on his shoulder and a little bit of fire. I don’t care what motivation it is; I liked the way he played. He put us on his back again — that is what a captain does. It’s contagious the way he played.”

*United and Toronto are a combined 0-15-8 in the past 23 league matches. D.C. is winless in 12 straight (0-9-3), TFC in 11 (0-6-5). Neither has won since March 9. (All of which means this meeting will end in a draw, right?)

*United has notified the U.S. Soccer Federation it could host a Open Cup semifinal, should the club defeat the New England Revolution on June 26 at Maryland SoccerPlex. The semis are set for Aug. 7 or 21. A random draw will determine the host teams. (In years past, the USSF used a sealed-bid process in the late stages.)

In each of its first two tournament home games, United has chosen to play at Maryland SoccerPlex  – an intimate setting for a typically small turnout, plus lower operating expenses. The club would consider utilizing RFK Stadium for a semifinal. The potential opponent, though, could impact that decision.

*Alecko Eskandarian, Carlos Llamosa, Jaime Moreno and Tony Sanneh were nominated for the 2013 Hall of Tradition induction. Online voting will run through Wednesday.

*Saturday’s local TV coverage: Comcast SportsNet, starting at 7 p.m. ET.

*Weather outlook: 80 degrees, 39 percent humidity, 0 percent chance of rain, light wind.

 

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 · June 13, 2013