WASHINGTON – Six days removed from the conclusion of D.C. United’s five-match, two-week stretch where the team came away with five points, the players have enjoyed a slightly more relaxed pace.
Especially because it has given some of them an opportunity to recover from the virus that was floating around the locker room for the better part of the previous two weeks.
At one point or another during the last half of August and first week of September, Raphael Augusto, Branko Boskovic, Nick DeLeon, Bill Hamid, Dejan Jakovic and even coach Ben Olsen were sick.
And while Olsen didn’t miss a match, though he was noticeably congested following D.C.’s 2-2 draw against New York, Boskovic, DeLeon and Salihi all did. Hamid sat out Wednesday’s training session.
“We had a bit of a bug going around the locker room that will hopefully be out by the end of the week and we’ll hopefully be ready to go on Monday,” Olsen said following Thursday’s training session. “The guys have the weekend off to recharge. It was an emotional and physically draining two weeks for everyone.”
Boskovic (above) said Thursday that he’s feeling much better and traveled with the team to Montreal for Friday morning’s Reserve League match. During the course of his sickness, he said there were two or three days where “he didn’t know what was happening with his stomach.”
“I had sweat, fever and [lost] appetite,” he said. “Those days were terrible.”
United, currently sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, will have plenty of time to get the bug out of their system before playing host to New England on Sept. 15.
For the first time since he tore his ACL in March, rookie midfielder Lance Rozeboom participated in 5-v-2 drills during training Thursday. He’s slowly been working his way back from the injury, jogging, sprinting and, this week, practicing shooting drills.
“Obviously, technically, you’re not used to that pace after such a long time out, but today I felt real good,” he said. “It was just good being back on the ball and playing in a possession game like that.”
The second-round supplemental draft pick out of the University of New Mexico said he hopes to participate in a reserve match in October.
National team duty
D.C. United’s side has been somewhat lighter on numbers this week with captain Dwayne De Rosario, center back Dejan Jakovic and striker Hamdi Salihi all on international team duty. De Rosario and Jakovic are with Canada’s national team, which will play Panama for a pair of World Cup qualifiers on Friday and Sept. 11, while Salihi is with Albania’s national side. Albania will face Cyprus on Friday and Switzerland on the 11th.
So will United coach Ben Olsen keep in touch with the guys who are away?
“No. They’re on their own. They don’t want to hear from me,” he said with a smile.
In addition to the first-team players, D.C. Academy product Suliaman Dainkeh has been called up to the U-18 men’s national team camp in Mill, Netherlands, that runs from Sept 6-17.