WASHINGTON - D.C. United will be looking to have all hands on deck when they travel to face the New York Red Bulls in their Eastern Conference Semifinal opener (Sunday, 4 pm ET, Univision Deportes, MLS LIVE).
A trio of question marks remain, though, before United takes the pitch on Sunday: midfielder Chris Rolfe, outside back Sean Franklin and team scoring leader Luis Silva. On Friday, after his team’s training session, United head coach Ben Olsen shed some light on how they’re coming along.
Rolfe’s recovery has been slow but steady since going down in early September with a broken left arm. More recently, Rolfe has graduated from doing non-contact work in training to participating in United’s sessions more fully. The padding he wears around his left arm – which remains immobilized – makes playing a bit awkward for the former Chicago Fire standout, something he’s learned to live with.
Still, Olsen stated on Friday that Rolfe is “all set.” Though Rolfe had been starting prior to his injury, he’ll likely find action off the bench as he continues to regain his match fitness.
“He’s been full in all week,” added Olsen.
Silva, the former Toronto FC forward who this year emerged as United’s leading scorer, is on the mend after sustaining a hamstring strain in United’s victory at Houston on Oct. 12.
Earlier this week, Olsen implied that Silva could return to action as soon as Sunday’s match against the Red Bulls. There may be gamesmanship involved in that assertion, though, as a more realistic timetable for his return to action would seem to be the return leg of the series at RFK on Nov. 9.
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On Friday, Silva left RFK to see a specialist and did not train with the team. Olsen remained optimistic. “He went to go get looked at by a doctor – but again, he’s moving along very well.”
Franklin, who missed United’s season finale against the Montreal Impact last weekend with what the club described as a “minor lower-body muscular injury,” has returned to training fully and should start on Sunday.