Behind the badge: Walking wounded improve
Bryan Namoff (avulsion fracture to rib), Alecko Eskandarian (quadriceps contusion) and David Stokes (concussion and neck strain) -- have made significant strides towards returning to full strength.
Of United's 28 roster players, only Steve Guppy is expected to be unavailable to head coach Peter Novak for Saturday's game against Kansas City, giving the second-year boss a myriad of possible lineups to throw at the Wizards.
One player not present in training this week is Freddy Adu. Adu, MLS Player of the Week just a week ago, has been called up by head coach Sigi Schmid to train with the U.S. U-20 national team in preparation for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. The tournament will be played in Holland from June 10-July 2.
Adu joined the rest of the 24-man roster in Blaine, Minn., on Sunday following United's 1-0 loss to the Revolution. The U.S. will take on the Canadian U-20 national team on Wednesday (May 18, 8:35 p.m. ET) in Blaine as a warm-up for the international tournament. Every U.S. match at the World Youth Championship can be followed live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.
Aduwill serve double duty for the next two weeks, balancing a busy club and national team career at the age of 15. He is scheduled to return to the Nation's Capital on Thursday for part two of the 2004 MLS Cup rematch this Saturday when the Black-and-Red take on the Kansas City Wizards. He will then head to Los Angeles to continue training with his U.S. teammates for the games in Holland. He is expected to return for United's May 28 match against FC Dallas before serving full-time with the U-20's through the Youth World Championship.
Former Rochester Raging Rhinos defender John Wilson is on trial with D.C. United this week. The 27 year-old native of Seneca, S.C., appeared in three games during the Kansas City Wizards 2000 MLS Cup Championship run. He also scored his lone MLS goal during a one-time, 16-minute appearance with the New England Revolution in 2002.
Several former members of the Black-and-red recently completed seasons with their European clubs. Here's a look at how they fared:
Twice named as an MLS All-Star, Nelsen signed an 18-month contract in January with Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League. Although Nelsen joined the squad mid-season, he made a huge impact on the team, quickly becoming the heart of the Rovers' defense.
Blackburn manager Mark Hughes is very thankful for Nelsen, describing him as, "a huge talent, a strong man both on and off the field, and he has presence." Nelsen started and played in 15 games this season. He was also given the honor of wearing the captain's armband for a number of games during the second half of the season.
Following Nelsen's debut, Blackburn escaped relegation status and climbed to a 15th place finish, in addition to making a semifinal appearance in the FA Cup.
United's first teen prodigy, Bobby Convey, who transferred to Reading FC of the Coca-Cola Championship Series in July of 2004, was a significant contributor to both the Royals first and reserve teams. Convey made 22 appearances (including seven starts) with the first team across all competitions. He scored his first goals for Reading by cranking two in the back of the net during a reserve game at MK Dons in the fall of 2004.
After he helped lead the Black-and-Red to the 2004 MLS Cup Championship, Earnie Stewart returned to VVV Venlo, the Dutch club where he began his professional soccer career in 1988. Venlo ended the 2005 campaign with a third place finish in the Netherlands Golden Division with a 9-6-2 record. Published reports have Stewart planning to retire after the 2006 season and joining Venlo's technical staff.