After having Monday off, D.C. United was back at the RFK training grounds after an extended preseason that took them to Florida, California and South Carolina.
Several notes from practice regarding players. First a quick observation: Forward Charlie Davies did not participate fully in practice on Tuesday, instead jogging and sprinting around the field during training. According to United Coach Ben Olsen, Davies tweaked his groin and the team is being cautious. “We’re just being smart with some of the guys we have in that 18 guys that are kind of trying to fight for starting spots right now,” Olsen said. Davies said he should be full go tomorrow at practice.
For much more...
- Expect D.C. United to announce this afternoon that they have signed goalkeeper Joe Willis to a contract. Willis, a third-round draft pick out of the University of Denver, has backed up Pat Onstad this preseason while second-year goalkeeper Bill Hamid recovers from a shoulder injury.
- Speaking of Hamid, he tweeted that today was his expected return date following extended rehabilitation from the shoulder surgery he underwent six months ago. It appears that Hamid may have been one day off on that prediction. He did not take part in full training and had a conversation or two with Olsen during practice.
Said a chuckling Olsen: “He’s worked hard and he’s very excited to get back. Twenty-four hours. Whether it was the 15th or 16th, we had that debate today. Tomorrow he’s going to be ready to go and I’m excited for him because I know he’s been ready to go. He was ready to go five months ago.”
Olsen said he understands Hamid’s eagerness to return. “It’s difficult but I understand it. I was the same guy. Six months meant three months to me and that’s probably why I had to retire early. He’s chomping at the bit. He sees it’s a competitive atmosphere and guys sense that if you’re out there’s guys that can step in and do the job. And if they do the job on the field guess what you’re on the outside looking in. And that’s I think a very healthy thing but at times you have to manage personalities and that’s what I’m here to do.”
- D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar was surprised with a new Volkswagen today after practice for his 18th birthday. The team tweeted pictures.
- United is looking to finalize a deal with trialist Brandon Barklage soon, Olsen indicated. “He’s been very patient with us as we figure out one or two little last-minute things,” Olsen said of the midfielder. “He has been fantastic this preseason and we’re trying to find a way.”
- Last year entering the regular season opener, D.C. United was coming off of a 6-1-2 record and a Carolina Challenge Cup championship. This year, United will go into Saturday’s opener with a 7-0-2 preseason record and a Carolina Challenge Cup title. Similar preseason...and hopefully not the same regular season results, right? So has Olsen brought up last year’s preseason? “I mentioned it,” he said. “Once or twice...or three times.”
Said Santino Quaranta: “These Carolina Cups and this kind of stuff means not a whole lot. ... Overall you can throw those things away, they don’t mean anything. And that’s been brought up. You have to continue on into the first game.”
I’ll have more for you tomorrow from the team’s banquet and, of course, as practice unfolds during the week.