Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
The D.C. United faithful can breathe a sigh of relief.
After suffering a knee injury that knocked him out of the closing minutes of United's 3-2 U.S. Open Cup qualifying loss to New England on Tuesday, midfielder Branko Boskovic underwent an MRI on Wednesday, and the results were negative, meaning the Montenegro international should be available for D.C.'s Friday night match at the Houston Dynamo.
"We expect him ready to go," assistant coach Chad Ashton said. "Other than some slight swelling and some soreness, everything is fine."
Just a week ago, a significant injury to Boskovic would have been disappointing but not cause for serious alarm in the nation's capital, as the Designated Player was out of favor with coach Ben Olsen. But Boskovic has strung together back-to-back standout performances, striking woodwork twice as a substitute in a 4-0 loss to New York last week and scoring both of United's goals Tuesday.
Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:
Having struggled out of the gate to a 1-3-2 record, the Fire is trying to pinpoint exactly what hasn't been clicking in the Windy City thus far this season. According to midfielder Patrick Nyarko, Chicago needs to work on maintaining possession to find some attacking flow.
"We obviously haven't had possession at most parts of the game," Nyarko told ESPN Chicago. "Either the centerbacks get under pressure and just whack the ball and not bring it up — I have yet to figure it out. But it definitely shows in long periods of the game that we're not moving and not passing the ball along. I think that will come a long way to help us if we try to keep possession of the ball at most parts of the game. That's where we look the most dangerous, when we keep the ball on the move and try to create chances off of that."
Columbus officially signed midfielder Santiago Prim on Tuesday, bolstering an attack that has lacked creativity since the offseason departure of playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Prim trained with Columbus during the preseason but could not sign due to contract issues with his previous club, San Lorenzo in Argentina. Those issues have since been resolved, leaving Prim as a free agent.
"He's a young player we see with a lot of potential," coach Robert Warzycha told The Columbus Dispatch. "It's not like he's going to be a star player right away. I think he's someone who could be good in the future."
Newly acquired Spanish striker Koke trained with the Dynamo on Wendesday, just hours after his flight from Madrid arrived in Houston. The 28-year-old forward, who scored 30 goals in five years with Greek side Aris, impressed coach Dominic Kinnear during a 9-on-9 scrimmage.
"He's traveled so long to get in late and then come out and train," Kinnear told the Houston Chronicle. "[He has] a good first touch. I watched his movement in the game, and holding the ball up was the one thing that I noticed. Obviously, I'll find out more with the more time he spends here."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
In order to make his professional debut during New England's 3-2 U.S. Open Cup qualifying win at D.C. United on Tuesday, 16-year-old Revolution rookie Diego Fagundez had to ask for permission from Leominster High School outside Boston to skip a few days of school.
Fagundez, a Homegrown Player signing, got the green light and came on as a sub against United, replacing Ousmane Dabo in the 76th minute. "I was happy just to fly here," Fagundez said after the game. "But playing now? I'm even happier."
NEW YORK RED BULLS
After last week's three-assist performance in New York's 4-0 win at D.C. United, Jan Gunnar Solli discussed his switch to right back for the Red Bulls after making a name for himself as a central and wide midfielder in Norway.
"I saw it like a challenge," Solli told MLSsoccer.com. "The way we play here, I have a lot of space to run into –- that’s one of my strengths. As a right fullback here, I'm on the ball so much."
The Union could be getting a key midfield cog back in the lineup Saturday against San Jose as midfielder Brian Carroll nears his return from a hamstring strain that has sidelined him since April 9.
"We're very hopeful he'll be available for us this weekend," coach Peter Nowak told MLSsoccer.com. "We'll probably make a Friday decision. We just need to make sure we have the green light from our doctors."
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
In a rare move, MLS rescinded the red card given to newly acquired defender Aurelien Collin last weekend against New England, making the Frenchman available for Kansas City's match against New York on Saturday. After colliding with Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis, Collin received the red card amid a scuffle that saw New England midfielder Benny Feilhaber fall to the turf after contact with Kansas City's Birahim Diop.
"I appreciate that the referee admitted that it was an error in judgment, because he didn’t have the best line to see it, and it was off the reaction of the player," Kansas City coach Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com. "I like the fact that there was a process, and there is no doubt in my mind that it was the correct decision on the situation. It's a step in the right direction."
Diop was not punished for his part in the fracas after the league's disciplinary committee found that his actions did not warrant further punishment.
Despite walking away from the first leg of its Nutrilite Canadian Championships semifinal on Wednesday with a 3-0 lead over FC Edmonton, Toronto coach Aron Winter was still not pleased with his team's play.
"The result was nice but our play was not," Winter told The Canadian Press. "We have made lots of improvement in the last few games and we were able to give some players a rest and give other players an opportunity in this game. But I was not satisfied with how we played towards the end. We were not sharp enough."