WASHINGTON -- After surviving their US Open Cup third-round match against the Richmond Kickers last Tuesday, D.C. United made sure they took plenty of time off over the past week to recover from a busy opening stretch to start the 2012 season.
Manager Ben Olsen gave his club a three-day break with a fourth-round Open Cup contest coming up against the Philadelphia Union at Maryland SoccerPlex on Tuesday, June 5. Training resumes on Sunday.
"Everyone got through injury wise," Olsen told MLSsoccer.com about the 2-1 win against the Richmond Kickers. "It's always a tough game in early round Open Cup competition. It's never easy."
The cup victory added another game to United's schedule during their three-week break from MLS play. And while the congested schedule early in the season may have taken its toll on the health of United's players, Olsen wasn't complaining about having an extra match.
Highlights: Richmond vs. D.C. United
"It's a good thing [that we don't have a long break]," Olsen added. "We get a real game on Tuesday [vs. Union], and then we have a reserve game on the weekend against Toronto. So there are plenty of minutes to keep guys sharp."
One of the positive signs from this week was the reemergence of Robbie Russell, who had been forced to miss the past three games due to a hamstring injury. The veteran right back made his presence felt at practice on Wednesday, fully participating in the small-sided games that Olsen ran the team through.
Another highlight from the session was the penalty kick competition to conclude training. It was preparation for the possibility of spot kicks against Philadelphia on Tuesday, the first of two straight matches against their rivals including a league encounter on June 16 at PPL Park.
Olsen had an easy explanation for the exercise: "We prepare to win."