D.C.'s Nelsen working his way back

maybe I should have stayed in the locker room," he said with a smile.

There is no denying the significance of Nelsen's absence from the starting 11.

"Nellie is going to be a big factor in our team," says midfielder Ben Olsen. "He's crucial to our defense -- everybody knows that."

Said United head coach Peter Nowak: "We cannot replace our captain. We have to work very hard right now to make our way back to where we were a couple of weeks ago."

For his part, Nelsen hopes his team can regain playoff form without him.

"Hopefully I'll have to sit on the bench for two or three weeks because we'll be on a winning run," he said. "That'd be a nice situation, in all honesty. I hope the guys make it as hard as possible for me to get back into the team."

Charles Boehm is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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