DeLeon, Pontius could step in if De Rosario suspended for DC United

WASHINGTON — Just as they were last year when D.C. United traveled to Houston for the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship, the club could again be without its captain for Saturday’s season opener against the Dynamo (8 pm ET, NBC Sports Network, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).

United coach Ben Olsen said he expects to hear a decision from the MLS Disciplinary Committee on Thursday regarding a possible suspension stemming from captain Dwayne De Rosario’s alleged head butt of former teammate Danny Cruz when D.C. played Philadelphia in a preseason match last Saturday in Florida.

De Rosario was ejected in the 59th minute of the match.

“Regardless of the reality, whether or not he gets suspended, we’ve done it before and we’re prepared to do that [again] if that’s the case,” Olsen said Thursday of the possibility of playing without De Rosario. “We have options in there [in the midfield], but we also have some forwards, too, that are ready to go.”

READ: Can Olsen lead his team to the promised land in 2013?

De Rosario wasn’t present at Thursday’s training session, but that was because he had to deal with a personal matter, not reasons related to a possible suspension.

On Tuesday, De Rosario told reporters he hopes he won’t be suspended.

“It was a scuffle and the main thing is I’m just looking forward to Saturday,” he said. “I don’t know [if I’ll be suspended]. I hope not. There was a lot of pushing going on. It was one of those unfortunate things.”

Regardless of whether they’ll have De Rosario in Houston, Olsen said he has plenty of options to fill his position. Olsen said he feels comfortable shifting both Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon to the withdrawn forward position if necessary.

“It’s an unfortunate situation, as you can tell,” DeLeon said. “You don’t want to get suspended for something like that and we didn’t even know you could get suspended for something like that. But we take it in stride. We’re a good team without him and we’re an even better team with him.”