D.C. United news and notes

(D.C. United)
(D.C. United)

The latest from D.C. United training camp in Bradenton, Fla. …

*After a month of U.S. national team duty, goalkeeper Bill Hamid and forward Eddie Johnson will report Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Hamid will not play in the preseason opener Wednesday against Toronto FC at IMG Academy (7 p.m. ET, live stream on dcunited.com).

Both will likely make their preseason debut Saturday night against the Chicago Fire at IMG.

United officials plan to engage in contract talks with Johnson’s reps soon. The veteran forward is under contract in 2014 but wants to re-work the deal. United is preparing to offer him a designated player contract.

Coach Ben Olsen does not believe the negotiations will cause distractions.

“We’ve had some initial conversations. He is excited to get to work. Eddie gets a bad rap sometimes. I can tell you he is happy to be with a team that wants him and he’s ready to get this season started.”

*Goalkeepers Joe Willis and Andrew Dykstra will play one half apiece Wednesday night. With players just beginning to find their game fitness, Olsen plans to make 11 substitutions at halftime.

Aside from Johnson and Hamid, five others will miss the match with minor issues and another is doubtful:

Defender Chris Korb (bone bruise, knee)

Midfielder Lewis Neal (lower leg)

Midfielder Chris Pontius (hamstring surgery recovery)

Defender Nana Attakora (bone bruise or tendinitis, knee)

Forward Casey Townsend (groin)

Forward Fabian Espindola (ankle sprain, probably won’t play)

*Trialist Khari Stephenson, a veteran MLS midfielder who joined the group last week, was let go. He was not going to make the senior roster, so United wanted to give him ample time to latch on with another club.

Olsen might not make additional cuts until the first stage of camp concludes Feb. 12. The club remains in the market for depth at left back and midfield. A young player from Argentine club San Lorenzo will probably play Wednesday but is not on formal trial.

*Olsen has not chosen a captain yet. “It will play out,” he said. Candidates include Chris Pontius, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke.

*Asked which of the young players have surprised him in the first week of workouts, Olsen first mentioned former Maryland attacker Christiano Francois. “He’s still a project, but he’s got some tools that others don’t have. He’s pretty explosive and relentless going after people.”

Olsen also cited rookies Victor Munoz, a versatile midfielder from UCLA, and Travis Golden, a center back from Campbell who has filled a void at left back in training.

*New assistant coach Enzo Concina, an Italian-Canadian who worked with Napoli and Inter Milan, has joined the group in Florida. He replaced Josh Wolff, now with Columbus.

*As expected, United and the Richmond Kickers have renewed their affiliation. United will assign at least four players to the third-division club and shuttle others back and forth as needed, just as it did last season. The technical staffs will not finalize those personnel decisions for several weeks.

*To accommodate the Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals with Tijuana, United agreed to move the March 15 league match at Los Angeles to Aug. 27. With a gap on the second weekend of the calendar, D.C. will look to arrange a closed-door scrimmage against a team to be determined.

 

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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