DC Notebook: Defensive lineup tattered through injuries
WASHINGTON – A lot can change in a few weeks. Back before a July 15 match against Houston, D.C. United were just one player short of a full, healthy roster. Since then injuries slowly have been hampering the Black-and-Red, especially on the backline.
The latest diagnosis is a concussion for left back Daniel Woolard, head coach Ben Olsen said following Tuesday’s training. Woolard suffered the concussion when he banged heads with Emiliano Dudar attempting to clear a ball in the box in Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Columbus at RFK Stadium.
Woolard has been one of D.C.’s more consistent defenders, starting 20 of the club’s 21 matches, which is tied for second on the team with center back Brandon McDonald. He's played 1,754 minutes, scored one goal and assisted two others.
“Right now we’re in a holding pattern with him,” Olsen said. “[We need] to make sure we go through all the steps to ensure his safety. It’s not a perfect science with this stuff. We’ll evaluate Daniel symptomatically, as we do every guy with these head injuries. It’s a bad part of the game and it seems like it’s happening more and more.”
With right back Robbie Russell still sidelined with plantar fasciitis – Chris Korb has filled the spot well – United are left with few options at outside back.
In addition to Woolard, captain Dwayne De Rosario did not participate in Tuesday’s training as he continues to rest his left shoulder which he injured after being flipped by the Crew’s Carlos Mendes.
“It’s sore, but I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to keep him out,” Olsen said.
Dudar solid against the Crew
Making his first start since April 28, center back Emiliano Dudar said after Saturday’s game he needs to work on his passing. Dudar’s propensity to launch long balls with accuracy makes him an attractive option for Olsen in the final third and against Columbus, the 6-foot-4 defender completed 42 passes, misfired on 16 of them and had nine clears.
“One of the things I have to work on during the week is how to administer the ball better,” Dudar said Saturday through a translator. "We have to keep it more. But we have time during the week to work on it, and we can correct our mistakes."
Even though United were awarded a number of free kicks because of Columbus’ physical play Saturday (14 fouls), they weren’t able to take advantage. Midfielder Branko Boskovic was ineffective with his usually accurate left foot. Could that be attributable to the playing surface at RFK?
“A little bit, yeah,” Olsen said following the match. “And I attribute some of Dudar’s passing to the new surface. [Columbus] had the same situation. That will slowly fix itself and we’ll be able to move the ball a little bit better. Passing will be better. But the field is what it was.”
Surface aside, United haven’t lost at home since March 10.
Odds & Ends
Boskovic played 90 minutes Saturday for the first time since Oct. 23, 2010. … Goalkeeper Bill Hamid made three saves against Columbus to preserve his third shutout in his last five games. … Third-string goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra remains on loan with the Charleston Battery.