As D.C. United’s injury situation slowly improves, the bigger question becomes even more illuminated: Will it help D.C. United’s overall situation, which looks increasingly dire.
It’s a long season, as we know. United is just eight games into a 34-game campaign. And as the LA Galaxy clearly demonstrated a year back, teams can pretty much stink up the joint through May and still pound their way to MLS Cup glory.
The Washington Post says Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon (pictured), United’s starting flank midfielders when healthy, are both nearing a return.
That’s just in time for a busy few days. D.C. United, last among the 19 clubs in our rankings, hosts Houston at home on Wednesday, and Ben Olsen’s club needs that one in the very worst way. As we said before on the blog, losing at home tends to get coaches canned, and United has lost three of four at RFK this year.
Houston is vulnerable, having played late Sunday evening and then traveled across the country on Monday.
Three nights later it’s D.C. United doing the traveling, visiting Texas, where it’s already heating up for the summer. The travel, the potential heat and the fact that Dallas has the league’s best record all makes Wednesday’s match at home even more vital for Olsen and Co.
So Olsen has to weigh all that as he allocates playing time for the two important pieces. He needs them … but prudence would dictate some caution, too.