The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

After on-field dispute, Luciano Acosta says he ‘loves’ Paul Arriola 'like a brother’

D.C. United news and notes

D.C. United's Paul Arriola looks to pass against New York City FC on April 21 in Washington. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Thirty minutes into Sunday’s match at Minnesota United, D.C. United needed to quell not only an inspired adversary but a dispute between teammates that unfolded in front of the sellout crowd and national TV audience.

Luciano Acosta and Paul Arriola snapped at one another for a short time before Steve Birnbaum and Donovan Pines intervened.

After the 1-0 defeat, United Coach Ben Olsen and captain Wayne Rooney played down the squabble, saying Acosta and Arriola had put their differences to rest in the locker room at halftime.

And on Wednesday, United’s first day back at work since returning home, Acosta laughed when asked about it.

“It’s all good,” he said through an interpreter. “It was the heat of the moment. I love him like a brother. It was a small thing.”

United has Rooney, Acosta and a frustrating scoring drought

Arriola and Acosta have been good friends since becoming teammates in summer 2017. With their usual travel roommates sidelined by injuries, the two attackers roomed together on both legs of last week’s trips to Columbus and Minnesota.

Arriola has also dismissed any concerns about lingering issues between the men.

Addressing the matter again Wednesday, Olsen said: “I would be concerned if that lingered past the halftime hug, but it didn’t. Those guys are pretty tight. They squashed it very quickly at halftime. There were no issues in the second half.

“I’ve been that guy [as a player] and seen that stuff. I don’t put too much weight in it unless there is some back issues or it lingers. It hasn’t.”

Both players are expressive and emotional in the heat of competition. Acosta has blown his cool a few times, aiming his ire at both foes and friends. In 2016, he had a sideline exchange with Olsen.

>> In anticipation of a trade proposal being finalized, left back Marquinhos Pedroso has arrived in Washington and might begin training with United on Thursday.

United and FC Dallas agreed to a trade Tuesday, but because of technical issues involving Pedroso’s move to MLS last summer, the league declined to approve the deal. Subsequently, the sides have been working toward a resolution.

The initial agreement called for United to relinquish its 2020 first-round draft pick and for Dallas to keep a large chuck of Pedroso’s contract on its books.

The Brazilian-born defender, 25, would address a void on United’s injury-depleted back line. He has appeared in just two matches this season (one start) after securing a starting role upon his arrival last summer.

Olsen was coy about Pedroso’s imminent acquisition.

“Who?” he said, smiling. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Asked if help was on the way before next week’s spring deadline, Olsen said with sarcasm: “Possibly. Hopefully. They don’t tell me [expletive] around here.”

>> Right back Leonardo Jara, who suffered a groin injury Sunday, is recovering quicker than expected and is questionable to play this weekend against Columbus at Audi Field.

Defender Chris McCann (hamstring) and midfielder Russell Canouse (knee) are ramping up their training routines and might be in uniform this weekend. McCann has missed four matches, Canouse three.

Left back Joseph Mora (broken jaw) worked out on the side. He might have the wire keeping his mouth closed removed Thursday. Unable to eat normally, he has lost weight since suffering the injury a month ago.

Goalkeeper Bill Hamid missed training with a stomach virus, Olsen said.

>> Saturday’s match against the Crew is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. FloSports will provide streaming coverage.

>> Loudoun United, D.C.'s new second-division squad, will make its home debut Friday night at Audi Field against Bethlehem Steel. Loudoun (1-3-2) will play three or four home games at Audi Field and one or two at George Mason University in Fairfax before christening a 5,000-seat stadium in Leesburg on Aug. 9.‘