By PABLO MAURER
WASHINGTON – D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen responded publicly for the first time to comments made on Saturday evening by United captain Dwayne De Rosario, unhappy after being benched in favor of Guatemalan forward Carlos Ruiz. When asked whether he cared to elaborate on his decisions and the comments made by both Ruiz and DeRo, Olsen took a pass.
“No, I don’t want to elaborate on this. If they want to talk about it, you’re more than welcome to have that chat with them. I’m not going to get into tactics and why I play certain guys. What happened is between me and Dwayne – we had a good chat. I’ve got an Open Cup game to get ready for and other things. I will say this. Carlos was great.”
Olsen elaborated on Ruiz’s performance, seeming to imply that we’ll be seeing more of him in the weeks to come, “there were some signs that sticking with that crew will eventually start creating more chances. We’ll eventually break through on the other end. For 60 minutes, I thought Carlos did a very good job.”
For his part, De Rosario later shared that his post-game comments were “in the moment.”
“I am passionate,” De Rosario said. “I always want to play and to play a big role. Until I lose that passion and have to really look inside myself and see if my time is up, I’ll still have that hunger and desire to always be involved.
“Obviously speaking out didn’t help, but the position we are in right now, it builds into frustration. It adds up and you say things that are more out of emotion.”
Here are some more notes from Monday’s D.C. United training session:
TEAM PREPARES FOR U.S. OPEN CUP CHALLENGE
D.C. United gathered for a closed training session on Monday afternoon, preparing for their U.S. Open Cup match with the third-tier Richmond Kickers on Tuesday evening. Given United’s 1-9-2 record in league play, United head coach Ben Olsen was aware of the added importance of Tuesday’s encounter.
“We’re gonna evaluate our health – we just had a game two days ago,” Olsen quipped after training. “But in the situation we’re in with the league, this is extremely important. I’ve always taken this tournament very seriously, both as a player and as a coach. This club has always taken it extremely seriously, and we’ll continue to do that.”
United’s match-up on Tuesday is particularly intriguing due to the fact that the club has an affiliate agreement with the Kickers and has had several players on loan with Richmond all year. Olsen was asked whether he thought the agreement would give United’s opponents a competitive edge.
“It’s interesting, I think it’s a new dynamic, something our league is going to have to deal with. The difference here is that most guys on loan are there permanently, and here we have guys like [Goalkeeper Andrew] Dykstra who know us inside and out. But then we know them inside and out, so it evens out.”
WILLIAM EKONG ON TRIAL, SAINEY NYASSI LIKELY SET TO JOIN
Dutch youth international and Tottenham Hotspur academy product William Ekong joined United for a trial this week. The 19 year old center back got his start in the Ajax academy before moving on to EPL side Fulham, and is currently out of contract, available for a free transfer.
“Physically looks like he’s equipped for the league – we have to evaluate him, it’s a tough week to evaluate players but we’ll probably have him for a year or two.”
Additionally, United appears to have signed Gambian winger Sainey Nyassi. Nyassi – the twin brother of Montreal Impact player Sanna Nyassi – had been on trial with the team after his release from the New England Revolution. Olsen appeared impressed with the veteran. “We’ll see if we can work something out,” Olsen said. “But he has done well.”
What do you make of these notes? Do you believe that Olsen should be worried about disagreements between Ruiz and De Rosario? Do you see D.C. beating Richmond? Do you see Nyassi having a positive impact in RFK Stadium?
Share your thoughts below.