*Pat Onstad, 43, will start in goal in D.C. United’s U.S. Open Cup qualifier against the New England Revolution on Tuesday night at Maryland SoccerPlex, Coach Ben Olsen said Monday.
Onstad is the goalkeepers coach who came out of retirement to start the season before yielding the job three weeks ago when Bill Hamid was fully fit following shoulder rehabilitation. Hamid has started ever since, but with a busy stretch approaching, Onstad will return to the net.
Hamid is expected to start again Friday at Houston, Onstad’s longtime club. The Dynamo is planning to honor Onstad, who was with the organization for eight years.
Steve Cronin (broken wrist) has been training regularly and is eligible to play but needs time to regain his rhythm. Rookie Joe Willis, who has played in in reserve matches, is the fourth option.
*Right back Jed Zayner, out since the season opener with a hamstring injury, participated in a full workout Monday and is moving closer to a return.
*With a victory Tuesday, United would play a third-round qualifier at Sporting Kansas City, probably May 25. United hasn’t had to travel for an Open Cup match since 2007, when it was upset by the Harrisburg City Islanders.
For a look at the probable lineup against the Revolution.....
With the Open Cup qualifier falling three days before a league match, Olsen will undoubtedly turn to a different lineup than the one utilized last Thursday against the New York Red Bulls.
Besides Onstad, the lineup is likely to include Brandon Barklage at right back, Ethan White and Rodrigo Brasesco in the middle and Daniel Woolard on the left; a midfield with Santino Quaranta, Andy Najar, Kurt Morsink and maybe Stephen King (or Dax McCarty, who only played 45 minutes vs. New York); and a forward line of Joseph Ngwenyga and Blake Brettschneider. Charlie Davies (60 on Thursday) and Branko Boskovic (45) could also be in the mix at some point.
On the recovery from the 4-0 loss to the Red Bulls, Olsen said: “It was a good time to get two days away and forget about the game and recharge our batteries for a heavy stretch in the next two weeks.”
Between league matches and the Open Cup, it’s a tough balance in terms of personnel decisions, huh?
“That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”
On the keeper options, Olsen said: “Cronin is coming along, Pat is still in the mix, Bill has looked pretty good overall and Joe keeps pushing along. It’s an interesting dynamic, right? Let’s be honest, with a goalkeeper coach still playing. Pat has done a great job with it. He’s still teaching and putting their development in the forefront. If he’s called on, he’s willing to do the job.
“He's 43 years old. He gets this stuff. He understands his role. He is ready to go, but he’s also ready to teach. He’s actually doing both at the same time. Once you get into the later years of your career, you start to coach anyways. And he’s helped me out. He’s a very honest guy, he’s got that Canadian honesty, and he keeps me on my toes.”
I’ll address the Najar situation in Tuesday’s print edition (available online this evening).