WASHINGTON – With Dwayne De Rosario out for the season, Branko Boskovic would seemingly be one of the players D.C. United need to elevate his game in the absence of the team captain.
But the Montenegrin midfielder isn’t necessarily happy about how the team is showing it.
Boskovic, a frequent optimist, was visibily frustrated speaking after Tuesday morning’s training session near RFK Stadium when talking about being removed in the 56th minute of Saturday’s 2-1 win over New England.
“[The] season is over, I’m still not ready,” he said. “I think I can play more, but [head coach Ben Olsen] decided to put me out. If I’m not ready at [the] end of season, when I going to be ready?
“Maybe I look like this, tired, not ready. But that’s how I play, that’s how I run. I cannot change myself.”
Only once this season has Boskovic played a full 90 minutes, a 1-0 win over Columbus last month. During his time with D.C., he has played a full match six times in 19 starts. This season, he has started 10 matches (played in 20) and only three times logged more than 70 minutes.
“It’s always first me [being subbed out],” said Boskovic, who assisted on D.C.’s first goal on Saturday night. “But maybe if I stay, maybe I score. I also say I’m not angry [at] Ben. I respect his decision. His decision was right because we win the game.”
Boskovic’s replacement, midfielder Lewis Neal, scored the game-winning goal (and his first MLS goal) for United in a match they desperately needed to win to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
In his three-year MLS career, Boskovic doesn’t have a goal, but this season recorded his first assist. He now has five helpers with six matches remaining in the regular season.
“Maybe I’m not good enough, physically, for this league,” he said. “Maybe this league is stronger and I don’t know. But I also play in two, three leagues that are strong also and good in Europe. There, I play”
After siding with Red Star Belgrade, Paris Saint-Germain and Rapid Vienna (among others), Boskovic signed with United as a Designated Player in June of 2010 and appeared in 13 matches the rest of that season. In 2011, Boskovic played in only four games (one start) before tearing his ACL and missing the rest of the campaign. After restructuring his contract this year, Boskovic has recorded an MLS career-high in minutes played (867). Still, it’s obvious he wants to be playing more.
“I really care,” he said. “Like I say from first day when I come here, I care a lot about this team. I want the feel to play in playoffs, maybe win. This group is perfect. Good guys, good players. I’m happy because we have 18-20 good players. Everyone can play.
“But how can I be happy when I every time go first out?”