The 105-day rut is over.
Here’s my match report from RFK Stadium.
*Indonesian billionaire Erick Thohir, United’s principal investor, attended the match with several family members and congratulated the team in the locker room afterward. I asked him about his interest in Inter Milan. He laughed and rejoined his people. D.C.-based Jason Levien, the voice and face of the investment group, was also at the match. No comment from him on the stadium talks with the city, but the sense I am getting is negotiations are on the right path and at a promising but sensitive stage.
*Another guest in the locker room: former DCU player Andy Najar, who started for Honduras against the United States in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Utah. He’s not rejoining the club — just saying hi to old friends while on vacation before Anderlecht training camp opens.
*Center back Ethan White, who left late in the first half with a head injury, will undergo further testing in the coming days to determine whether he suffered a concussion. I asked him after the game how he felt. “Still got a headache,” he said. White was in good spirits, however, and upbeat about returning soon. Ben Olsen and other club officials were upset referee Jair Marrufo allowed play to continue while White was on the ground holding his head. Such injuries are supposed to prompt an immediate stoppage.
*Dwayne De Rosario was in the 18 but did not play — in part to rest a hip flexor strain that sidelined him for much of training this past week and in part to ready him for Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against New England at Maryland SoccerPlex. Because let’s face it, at this point, the Open Cup is more important than a mid-season game in a lost regular season.
*Center backs Dejan Jakovic and Brandon McDonald were not in uniform. Jakovic continues to recover from injury. Curious to see how McDonald is used — or not used — in the Open Cup match.
*It appears we have seen the last of another young foreign player, Brazilian forward Rafael. The club is planning to release him before his contract becomes guaranteed on July 1, multiple sources said. The young designated player, on loan from Bahia, scored once early in the year but fell out of favor and made two brief appearances the previous six league matches. He was not in the 18 against San Jose.
His departure would free up an international roster slot and salary cap space heading into the summer signing period, which opens July 9. Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto and Panamanian midfielder Marcos Sanchez were also dropped in recent weeks. No word yet on how United plans to fill Rafael’s place.
The club’s greatest error was overhyping his arrival. The day before the acquisition became official, United proclaimed a “major” announcement was in the works. Using such language sends expectations into orbit. Add the fact that United stamped him a designated player, albeit a young DP at $150,000, and everyone was giddy about him making an immediate impact. Unfair to him — a player no one was familiar with — and unfair to the supporters.
*Olsen, on Conor Shanosky, the Northern Virginia homegrown defender who made his second career regular season appearance in place of White:
“I don’t think there’s a happier human being on this Earth tonight than maybe Conor Shanosky. He loves this team. He grew up with this team. For him to be a part of our first win in a while – I’ll bet you he’s over the moon. I think he did well. That’s a tough matchup – [San Jose has got] some big fellows that are strong. I was happy for him, very, very happy for him. He’s a great kid. He doesn’t say much, but he comes to work. He’s a soccer junkie, and I’m extremely happy for him.”
*Chris Pontius, on returning from a concussion:
“I’m glad I didn’t have any side effects from it. I just kind of felt a little bit different that night [against Philadelphia in the Open Cup on June 12] and then we took the right steps and I progressed. I was fine and was able to get into training this week, so it felt pretty good.”
Upcoming league matches:
Next Saturday at home against Vancouver
July 3 at Seattle
July 7 at Colorado