D.C. United news and notes


With snow cleared from field at Long Bridge Park, D.C. United resumes work ahead of Saturday opener. (By Steven Goff — The Washington Post)

*Thanks to this endless winter, D.C. United’s usual training grounds outside of RFK Stadium are not in working order. So the club has turned to alternatives ahead of Saturday’s MLS opener against Columbus in Washington. On Tuesday, the club worked at an indoor facility in Anne Arundel County, Md. Today — and probably the rest of the week — the venue is Long Bridge Park near the Pentagon in Arlington. Crews cleared snow from the artificial turf field Tuesday, and with warmer temperatures and bright sunshine, the location will serve United’s purposes. I’ll have more on the training adjustments in a print edition story (available online later today).

*Latest weather outlook for Saturday: 59 degrees during the day, dropping into the 40s by the 7 p.m. kickoff. Light wind, no precipitation.

*In a feature that appeared in print and online today, I profiled center back Bobby Boswell, a one-time “snot-nosed kid” who begins his second tour in Washington with greater leadership responsibilities.

*Defender Chris Korb, projected as the back-up at both left and right back, underwent a medical procedure for a left knee injury Wednesday and will miss at least a couple of weeks. The club is awaiting additional details from doctors. He had not played in any of the six preseason matches.

Bill Hamid, photo-bomber. (By Steven Goff -- The Washington Post)
Bill Hamid, photo-bomber. (By Steven Goff — The Washington Post)

*Midfielder Chris Pontius, who suffered a setback in his recovery from hamstring surgery, is “moving forward,” Olsen said. However, the club’s longest-tenured player will not be ready until March 22 at Toronto FC, at the earliest. “It’s never as fast as we want it to be, but he is getting better. I don’t put expectations on Chris. It doesn’t make any sense for me to do that right now. When I see him running and incorporated back into drills, we will start thinking about Chris.”

*Right back Sean Franklin did not practice because of a leg ailment and worked out at the stadium. Precautionary, the club says.

*Forward Michael Seaton is on Reggae Boyz assignment for Jamaica’s friendly today at St. Lucia. On Sunday, he entered in the second half of a 2-0 victory at Barbados.

*Midfielder Alex Caskey was preparing to fly home to Seattle from Charleston on Sunday when Sounders officials told him he had been traded to United. So while his suddenly former teammates boarded a bus to the airport, Caskey remained behind. United, also based in Charleston for the final stage of MLS preseason, had already departed. He was then scheduled to fly to Washington later in the day, but because of the mid-Atlantic snow, he was delayed until Monday.

“Crazy 48 hours,” he said after Wednesday’s training session with United.

On Saturday, a few hours before United met the Sounders on the last day of the Carolina Challenge Cup, Caskey was told a trade was in the works and he wouldn’t be in uniform.

Acquired for a 2016 third-round draft pick, Caskey will provide depth on the flanks for United. The former Davidson College player started 17 league matches over two seasons with Seattle.

Joining a new club so late in preseason “definitely takes extra work to get on the same page as your teammates and figure it out and what the coaching staff wants,” he said. “I feel good about fitness because I went through all of preseason; it’s just about my role on the team.”

With United off during the second week of the season, he plans to return to Seattle to gather his belongings.

*United remains close to finalizing a deal with CBS Radio’s 106.7 The Fan (English) and 107.9 El Zol (Spanish) for live match coverage this season. The sides were scheduled to talk again this week, but even if a contract is signed soon, the stations will probably wait until after the opener to launch coverage.

United and Comcast SportsNet have yet to announce the local TV package, which is expected to include 16 league matches. Direct Kick, MLS’s pay service, appears to be the only live platform in the area for this weekend’s match.

 

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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