United still find plenty left to play for against Sporting
WASHINGTON – Despite being troubled by an injured shin in Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw against Portland Timbers, midfielder Dwayne De Rosario fully expects to take part in D.C. United’s season finale Saturday night against Sporting KC (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“It’s our last game, it’s fan appreciation night, last game of the season, still a lot to play for in terms of pride,” De Rosario told reporters. “Hopefully we can finish the season on a positive note.”
While D.C. are officially out of the postseason race, Sporting KC have plenty at stake. A win would guarantee a first-place finish at the top of the Eastern Conference and guaranteed home-field advantage for as long as their postseason lasts. A loss could see them finish as low third place, depending on the results of other games.
So as SKC come in looking for three points, United simply want to put on a show and thank their fans for their support this year.
“We’re out of the playoffs so the pressures of what we’ve been going through the last month are off,” forward Josh Wolff said. “Hopefully guys can play a little more freedom, just try to have fun and enjoy it, but try and get a good result at home in front of the fans and really come out and give them something to cheer about.”
Added head coach Ben Olsen: “Being that it’s the last game, they want to put on a good performance for themselves, their teammates and the organization.”
De Rosario, a bona fide MVP candidate despite United missing the playoffs, currently has a shot at winning the Golden Boot race as well. He leads the league with 16 goals on the year – one more than Chris Wondolowski and two more than Thierry Henry, whose regular season wrapped up Thursday night.
However, De Rosario is more focused on the team finishing strong as a whole. After the struggles of a playoff push that largely went in reverse, D.C. want to show the home fans that they haven’t quit.
“It’s there, but the most important thing is going out there and working hard and getting the win,” he said of winning the Golden Boot. “Everything else will take care of itself.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.