Copa America Could Alter Team's Roster
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
On Saturday night, 18 D.C. United players will be in Salt Lake City for a match against MLS's worst club. By Monday morning, some of them may very well be on their way to Maracaibo, Venezuela, to prepare for a game against one of the world's best national teams.
Who is going, and how it will impact United's short-term prospects, remains unclear.
All United knows is that Bobby Boswell, Ben Olsen, Troy Perkins and Bryan Namoff are being considered for the U.S. national team roster and a trip to Copa America, the prestigious South American championship.
The roster deadline is tomorrow, but because the national team is still competing in the Gold Cup this week, U.S. Coach Bob Bradley wants to wait as long as possible before submitting his list. The feeling around RFK Stadium is that Olsen and Boswell will be selected.
The U.S. team's first-round opener is June 28 against Argentina and will be followed by Group C matches against Paraguay and Colombia.
Several U.S. players at the Gold Cup, which concludes Sunday in Chicago, will also play in Copa America, and Bradley will supplement the roster with approximately 10 others.
Despite the prospect of missing at least two United matches, Boswell said he hopes he is selected.
"It's a big stage and that is where you get better," he said. "You look at the competition, the teams involved, this would be the biggest show for me."
Unlike many other MLS teams, United was not affected by Gold Cup call-ups. For Copa America, though, the club has already lost team captain Jaime Moreno to Bolivian duty and likely will be impacted by Bradley's impending decision.
"If they are watching our games, they should be calling," said D.C. Coach Tom Soehn, whose team has gone 5-0-2 since starting 0-3.
Soehn believes his club has positioned itself well to absorb possible departures and continue its success. He has used 19 starters this year, behind only Chicago and Columbus with 20.
"From Day One you are always working on a system of play so that when one piece goes away and you put another piece in, they understand their role," Soehn said.
Last Saturday, Rod Dyachenko replaced Moreno and scored his first career league goal, and Devon McTavish performed well in place of the suspended Boswell.
"We're in a good situation with depth," Olsen said. "There are a lot of guys who have contributed already and played in spots that they're probably not used to. And they've all responded. We didn't miss a beat and that's very promising."
Added Boswell, "You never want to be expendable, but I think our guys are ready to step in and get the job done if any of us are called up."
Just Walking It Off
Boswell walked with a limp after injuring his calf in training yesterday, but said he would be ready to play Saturday.
"I'm like the Wolverine -- I heal pretty quickly," he said, referring to the comic book superhero with accelerated healing powers. . . .
Midfielder Kasali Yinka Casal has gone to Nigeria to compete for a roster spot in the Under-20 World Cup, which begins June 30 in Canada. Casal is an Englishman of Nigerian descent. United has already released one player for that tournament: U.S. midfielder Bryan Arguez. . . .
Brazilian forward Luciano Emilio was named MLS player of the week after scoring twice against Chicago.