DC Notes: McDonald may return, no verdict yet on Pontius
WASHINGTON – While the news on D.C. United captain Dwayne De Rosario’s injury appears to be very positive, the statues of Chris Pontius, Brandon McDonald and Marcelo Saragosa are all far less certain.
Following Wednesday afternoon’s training session, United coach Ben Olsen said the MRIs revealed promising news on two of his three first-choice starters: McDonald (above, center) and Saragosa. None were present at Wednesday’s training, however.
“We’re going to continue to evaluate them day to day,” Olsen said. “We’ll see about Chris. Chris’ [groin injury] at this point looks a little bit more severe than the other two, but there’s still a chance that he’ll be OK as well.”
Losing Pontius, the club’s leading scorer, would be a big blow to D.C.’s chances as they need to make up two goals against Houston in Sunday’s second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship at RFK Stadium (4 pm ET; NBCSN, live chat on MLSssoccer.com).
Midfielder Perry Kitchen said it had been a while since he witnessed so many teammates get injured in the same match as they did in the first leg in Houston.
“It definitely was a tough stretch, a tough road trip,” Kitchen said. “With the travel [from D.C. to New York to Houston], everyone was feeling a bit leggy. But that’s no excuse. We had the lead and we just fell asleep on set pieces, which we knew they were going to take some quick. It’s all preventable stuff.”
United goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s increasingly-popular saying after D.C.’s 1-0 victory in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against New York is taking on a life of its own.
Hamid was still riled up after being handed a straight red card for his challenge against Kenny Cooper when he exclaimed, multiple times, “They can’t hold us back!” Now, the saying has its own Twitter hashtag (#TCHUB) and own T-shirt designed by La Barra Brava with Hamid’s picture and the quote on the front, and the remainder of the quote on the back: “That’s all I’ve got to say. Thank you very much."
“If you guys can, get on Twitter and put the hashtag up,” Hamid said this week. “TCHUB. The fans have jumped on it. Any sort of pleasure or entertainment we can give the fans, they deserve it. They’re stuck with us, so if that’s something they enjoy, I want them to enjoy that.”
Olsen reacts to Walton comments
Hearing the news that Professional Referee Organization general manager Peter Walton changed his opinion on whether Houston defender Andre Hainault should’ve received a red card for taking down United’s Raphael Augusto in the first half of last weekend’s Eastern Conference Championship first leg, Olsen again offered his thoughts on the controversial play.
“I agree with him,” Olsen said dryly before continuing his answer. “I hate talking about referees. I really do. … But it’s a real call that could have changed the course of this series.
“I don’t feel like we’ve gotten the greatest shakes the last couple of weeks with the whole playoff series, but it is what it is and we’ll move on," he added. "We’ve got a huge task ahead of us that we’re excited about and we want to continue proving people wrong.”