WASHINGTON – As if the rivalry between D.C. United and the Seattle Sounders needed any more fuel.
Seattle left back Marc Burch made headlines this week for making critical comments about his departure from D.C. United this offseason, specifically about the club’s decision to go with Daniel Woolard as a replacement.
But with D.C. set to face their recent rivals on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE), Woolard isn’t taking the bait.
“I saw the comments from [Burch],” Woolard told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “[All I have to say] is that Marc is a good soccer player.”
Prior to joining the Sounders, Burch played for five seasons in the Nation's Capital. Concerned with depth at left back, however, United tried out several players during the offseason in hopes of bolstering head coach Ben Olsen’s squad, eventually settling on Woolard.
"[D.C.] had the opportunity to keep me and they didn’t," Burch said earlier this week. "It’s time to go back and prove that I don’t believe their left back is better than I am. If that’s what they think, then that’s what they think.”
After a less than stellar performance against Sporting Kansas City in United’s season opening 1-0 loss at RFK Stadium, Woolard has turned in several solid games, including his effort in a 4-1 victory against FC Dallas last week.
And rather than focusing on challenges from opposing players, Woolard is focused on continuing his streak of good performances.
“I’m out to win a game for D.C. United,” the 27-year-old defender said. “We want to put on a good performance for the fans, and get away with all three points.
Olsen played with Burch for three seasons – from 2007 to 2009 – before becoming his manager in 2010, and says he can understand where his former teammate is coming from with his comments
“When you go to another place and you feel like you aren’t wanted, of course players aren’t going to be happy,” Olsen told MLSsoccer.com.
But rivalries and heated words aside, Olsen is looking forward to welcoming Burch back to D.C.
“I love Marc, and I think he has a lot of respect for this club,” Olsen said. “I’m sure that he is excited to come home and play, as most guys would be.”