Behind the badge: Carolina Cup is up

D.C. United players and coaches recently endured a 14-hour travel day following their CONCACAF Champions' Cup victory over Harbour View FC. After Wednesday night's 2-1 victory, United journeyed from Jamaica to Charleston, S.C., to begin preparations for the Carolina Challenge Cup.

The full squad has made their way to Charleston, as those players who did not travel to Jamaica joined the rest of the team on Thursday. The Carolina Challenge Cup features United, the Columbus Crew, the San Jose Earthquakes and the host Charleston Battery (USL First Division) in a round-robin format. United is set to face the Earthquakes on Saturday at 8:15 p.m ET, the Battery on Tuesday and the Crew on Friday.

United head coach Peter Nowak sees the Cup as an opportunity to further prepare for the MLS regular season opener on April 2. "We still have a lot to figure out in two weeks," said Nowak. "We are going to field our best team for these games."

Nelsen excels for Blackburn

Former D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen is enjoying a very successful beginning to his English Premier League career as a member of the Blackburn Rovers. In 10 Premier League games at the heart of the Rovers' defense, Nelsen and his teammates have allowed only 10 goals, while compiling an impressive record of 6-2-2.

Blackburn's recent League success has also carried over into the FA Cup, where the team has advanced to the semifinals and is set to face Arsenal FC of London. Nelsen's performance at Blackburn has been so impressive that he was recently awarded the captain's armband.

MLS Fantasy Challenge

The Major League Soccer Fantasy Challenge is up-and-running. Choose your favorite D.C. United players to represent your team and compete against other squads in a public or private league. Managers also have the opportunity to run the formation of their choice, should they prefer the 3-5-2 to the 4-4-2. Join the fun and manage your dream team throughout the course of the season.

Congratulations

D.C. United offer their congratulations to local Howison Park of Virginia, who received a $100,000 grant from The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the charitable arm of soccer in the United States, to build an All-Conditions Field. The All-Conditions Field is one that can be used around the clock, in fair or foul weather.


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