D.C. United’s Dejan Jakovic and John Thorrington will miss the last three matches of the MLS season with injuries.
Jakovic, a center back with 17 starts, is “out for a good while” after suffering a strained adductor in the U.S. Open Cup final last Tuesday, Coach Ben Olsen said before the club confirmed both players will not return this year.
“He’s done for potentially the season.”
Although he was not included on the club’s official injury list last Friday, Jakovic was not in uniform for a league match against Chicago that night.
Jakovic cancelled a trip to London with the Canadian national team for a week of training and a friendly against Australia, a call-up that would have forced him to miss United’s match against playoff-contending Philadelphia this Saturday night at RFK Stadium.
Thorrington suffered a calf injury late in the first half Friday. Aside from this weekend, he will sit out the Oct. 18 match at Sporting Kansas City and Oct. 27 against Houston at home.
When United signed the oft-injured Thorrington as a free agent last winter, it anticipated him missing stretches of the season. “We were dead-on,” Olsen said. “We figured to get him for about half of the year. We knew he was a real piece from a character standpoint, and that we needed that, and he was great. He helped us win that championship [setting up Lewis Neal’s goal in the Open Cup] and he also has helped out the young guys through his leadership.”
Thorrington, who turns 34 next week, appeared in 14 of 31 regular season matches and four of five Open Cup games.
Center back Ethan White is also sidelined with a knee ailment that flared up again last week and seems unlikely to play this weekend. He started against Real Salt Lake in the Open Cup final and did not play Friday.
Captain Dwayne De Rosario did join the Canadian squad and will miss the Philadelphia match.
*After Friday’s game, Olsen suggested experimenting with formations and combinations down the stretch. However, the injuries might alter the plan.
“I’ve got a couple of things to think of: I’ve got injuries now, so I am juggling and it’s not like I am putting next year’s starting team with maybe one different player,” he said. “Now I am changing a bunch of guys because of injuries. So I am tinkering with that. I want to see guys that haven’t gotten a lot of minutes this year. There aren’t many of them, but one or two guys I need to see in real games and give them a chance because I have to make [roster] decisions” this winter.
Among the candidates to play a greater role down the stretch is left back Dennis Iapichino, who has made three appearances and one start since joining the club six weeks ago.
“This is a chance for them to prove they are either versatile or they can play in a different system — whatever is thrown at them,” Olsen said. “They understand this is an opportunity.”
Formation experiments down the stretch will hinge in part on player availability, Olsen added.
Additionally, “I want to win. We want to get out of that this funk we’re in in the league. It’s not a healthy way to continue with all of these losses.”
At 3-22-6, United is on course for the worst record in MLS history. Tampa Bay (2001) and Chivas USA (2005) won four games but with fewer opportunities: The Mutiny was 4-21-2, Chivas 4-22-6.
On the league calendar, United is 0-7-2 in the past nine matches and 1-11-3 since late June.
“We don’t want to talk about [league records] too much, but it’s real. We don’t want to be that team. That is part of this equation. If that ends up happening — again — it’s been a bad season. If it’s been the worst, it’s been the worst.”