*Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra and forward Michael Seaton will play for Richmond in the U.S. Open Cup, while the other three D.C. United players on loan with the third-division Kickers will sit out in order to remain tournament-eligible for the MLS club, United Coach Ben Olsen said Monday.
The Kickers will begin Open Cup play Tuesday night at home against Icon FC, an amateur side from New Jersey featuring former MLS midfielder Danny Szetela and Argjent Duka, brother of Chicago’s Dilly Duka.
The Open Cup has created an awkward situation in the United-Kickers partnership because MLS teams typically utilize young players in early stages of the tournament. United arranged this year for several players to gain competitive experience throughout the USL season at Richmond, with the flexibility to recall them at any time. Once a player appears in an Open Cup match, he cannot represent another team in the tournament.
“If we need players, or even if we think we need players, [Richmond Coach] Leigh [Cowlishaw] understands this side of the relationship,” Olsen said. “He has been unbelievable during this whole process. It’s a great environment in Richmond and he has been getting [the loaned players] ready.”
Dykstra has played every minute of the USL schedule for the Kickers (4-0-3), while Seaton has made four appearances since joining the club late after serving Jamaican under-17 national team duty. Defender Conor Shanosky started six games but was recalled this past weekend and was on United’s game-day roster Sunday. Forward Casey Townsend (three Richmond matches) and defender-midfielder Taylor Kemp (four) started in United’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City.
“Going into this process, we knew these situations would arise,” Cowlishaw said. “We’re doing our job — when they are needed, D.C. can call them back. The process is working well.”
*United General Manager Dave Kasper and scouting coordinator Kurt Morsink are on assignment in Serbia, I’m told. DCU mined Red Star Belgrade four years ago to acquire defender Dejan Jakovic.
*Four trialists will arrive this week: three Europeans and one African. No other details available today. Last week United evaluated — and ultimately dismissed — two third-tier English league players.
*Olsen said he and Carlos Ruiz have “had plenty of chats and have a pretty good understanding of where he stands” — despite an MLS report quoting the Guatemalan forward saying he is not happy in Washington.
Ruiz, one of the league’s most accomplished scorers, has played just 100 minutes in seven reserve appearances for a team that has posted six goals in 11 matches. On Sunday, he entered in stoppage time.
“Under tough circumstances, I’ve been impressed how professional he has been,” Olsen said. “He feels he can help the team and I can understand why he might be frustrated about not playing.”
So why hasn’t Ruiz, 33, seen more playing time?
“I wanted to give Casey Townsend a shot up there,” Olsen added. “We’re giving forwards a chance to prove themselves. It’s Casey’s turn. If it doesn’t work out, maybe we will move on to something else.”
*Academy player Suliaman Dainkeh was named Gatorade player of the year for the state of Virginia. He will play at the University of Maryland in the fall. Former academy player Collin Martin (Wake Forest) was named to the U.S. under-20 squad for the Toulon Tournament in France.
*Longest winless streaks in MLS:
D.C. United: 9 (0-7-2)
Toronto FC: 9 (0-5-4)
Chivas USA: 6 (0-5-1)
*United and Washington Spirit combined record: 2-11-5. Eleven of a possible 54 points. Two multi-goal performances in 18 matches. United (1-8-2) will host the Portland Timbers (7-1-4) on Saturday night at RFK Stadium; the Spirit (1-3-3) will visit the Boston Breakers (2-1-2) on Saturday.