Olympic-bound Najar returns to United on cloud nine
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It isn’t quite true that every other word out of Andy Najar’s mouth at Livestrong Sporting Park over the past week or so was “excited.”
The young D.C. United midfielder did let that word slip a lot, though – and with good reason.
He was excited to make the semifinals of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, and even more excited to help Honduras win that match against El Salvador and earn a spot in the Summer Games.
Najar provided the assist on Gérson Rodas’ game-winning extratime goal in last Saturday’s 3-2 semifinal victory over El Salvador, which propelled Honduras into the Olympics. (They then fell to regional powerhouse Mexico in the final.)
“I am excited to be an Olympian for my national team,” Najar said after Monday night’s 2-1 extratime loss in the final. “I’m so excited about that.”
Najar hopes his play at both ends of the pitch was enough to earn a summer call-up from Honduran coach Luis Fernando Suárez.
“I don’t know right now,” he said. “Every player is going to have to work hard for a spot on the roster. I think it is going to be a hard competition, but I am ready to work hard on the field.”
Now, Najar is excited to get back to a club team that is showing improvement after a rocky start.
He hasn’t played for Ben Olsen’s United side since the season opener, a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City. But in the three games since then, D.C. have begun to right the ship, following an 0-2 start with a draw and a 4-1 win over FC Dallas last Friday.
“I was watching the last game they won,” he said of United. “They played good. Now I’m coming back, and I am looking forward to helping more.”