D.C. United news and notes

*D.C. United defender Dejan Jakovic has a strained groin and will be a game-time decision Saturday night against the Portland Timbers at RFK Stadium, Coach Ben Olsen said on Friday.

Jakovic did some work during closed training, Olsen said.

If Jakovic (10 starts in 11 matches) is unable to play, Brandon McDonald would likely return to the lineup and partner with Ethan White.

*United will not offer contracts to week-long trialists Jesjua Cruyff, Mike Grella and Peter Gregory but will continue to evaluate Sainey Nyassi, a swift Gambian winger waived by the New England Revolution last week.

“Nyassi is intriguing,” Olsen said. “He has got experience in this league. He is extremely quick.”

Nyassi, 25, arrived in MLS in 2007 and made 104 regular season appearances with 75 starts, eight goals and four assists.

Are more trialists coming, Ben?

“Oh, yeah.”

*Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra and forward Michael Seaton will continue loan assignments with the USL’s Richmond Kickers (4-0-3) tonight against the Harrisburg City Islanders (5-1-1) at City Stadium. The other three remained in Washington: forward Casey Townsend, defender-midfielder Taylor Kemp and defender Conor Shanosky. United and the Kickers will collide Tuesday in Richmond in the U.S. Open Cup.

*Midfielders Nick DeLeon and Chris Pontius seem likely to start together for the first time since the fourth game of the season after fully recovering from injuries. Last week, Pontius returned from a three-game layoff caused by a groin ailment and played the second half. DeLeon has made two appearances (one start) since overcoming a hamstring injury.

“It’s going to be nice to see them back on the field together,” Olsen said. “They are two big pieces, and as we add more players that are capable of getting us results, it helps. We need to get healthy, and we’re almost there.”

*Olsen and Timbers rookie coach Caleb Porter go back a ways.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Caleb is doing well” in MLS after success at the University of Akron, Olsen said. “There is a lot of good positive energy there, it’s fresh. And the guys are fighting for him and he also is putting together a way of playing that he believes in and is fun to watch.

“I have always had a good relationship with Caleb. I have called on him plenty of times with college stuff and input on his players we have [Perry Kitchen and Chris Korb]. He has always been extremely kind to me. I used to play against him. We grew up playing against each other through the ODP system and things like that. It’s nice to see a bunch of these guys my age in and around the league.”

What do you remember about playing against him?

“He wasn’t very good,” he said, smirking, “but you felt it. You would certainly come off the game with some red marks on your shins, maybe a little blood down there.”

*Numbers: Portland is unbeaten in a club-record 10 straight (4-0-6). United is winless in nine outings (0-7-2), one shy of the club mark set in 2002 (0-6-4). The Timbers are 1-0-5 away after going 3-21-10 on the road in their first two seasons. United is 1-4-1 at RFK after posting a 12-1-4 home mark in the 2012 regular season.

*In case you missed it: United announced a July 12 friendly (a Friday night) against Chivas Guadalajara at RFK.

Saturday’s referee: Jose Carlos Rivero.

TV: Comcast SportsNet (DC), Univision Deportes, 7 p.m. ET.

Weather outlook: 66 degrees, 19-mph wind, 10 percent chance of rain.

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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Steven Goff · May 23, 2013

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