Troy Perkins has played well for D.C. United.
John Todd/MLS/

Surprising Perkins stabilizing United

though to be United's No. 1 is still a bit new.

"I wanted to be [on D.C.], I knew that it was up to me," Perkins said. "But actually being part of it, having it happen as soon as it did, is unexpected. But you just take it and run, and you work hard to keep it."

Perkins has been thrust into a situation that has seen United's defense decimated by injuries -- something he's tried not to let affect his mental approach to his job.

"You don't want it to, you don't want to feel like you have to do too much, but you know that you're going to be called upon a lot more than you usually are," Perkins said. "You work hard during the week and get yourself ready for that, and when you show up for the games, [you] know that it's totally up to you to do your job."

With Warren waived on June 30, the way was paved to restructure Perkins' contract, rewarding his performances by giving him a degree of confidence and allowing him to quit his side job.

"It's not really battling just anyone else, it's battling against yourself. Especially with goalkeeping, it's a mentality," Perkins said. "You can't go out everyday and say, 'I'll do this better than him.' You go out and do the best you can. It's nice in a way, but it kind of makes me work harder now."

With Rimando sidelined by knee surgery, Perkins has gone from upstart to incumbent. But despite the apparent lack of cover, Perkins isn't concerned.

"Actually, growing up, even in college and in the PDL, I was really the only 'keeper we had," Perkins said. "I don't want to discredit our backups, but they were inexperienced, they'd never played a professional or amateur game before. Nothing new to me, really."

Perkins and United suffered a 2-0 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes at the weekend, but are still firmly situated in the heart of the Eastern Conference.

"We had a bit of a landslide on us the last couple of weeks, but you put that all behind you ... you start facing a whole new season in the second half. Everything comes down to the last couple weeks of the season for everyone, in the Eastern Conference especially," Perkins said. "You've got to go out and prove that you're the best team in the league. I think that we can be; we've just got to have a good mentality and focus on what we want to do."

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