Thomas Floyd covers D.C. United for The Washington Times.
It was a simple strategy, really. D.C. United finished with the third best record in MLS last season and advanced within a match of hosting MLS Cup. While a few part-time players were replaced, Andy Najar was the only regular starter to exit. And captain Dwayne De Rosario — without whom United went 6-1-4 — was back in the fold.
Through three games, D.C. United clearly weren't playing their best soccer. But the excuses were reasonable and the results were still there. Despite missing Dwayne De Rosario for two of those matches, which all came against playoff teams from a year ago, United still walked away with four points. Not bad. But Saturday was different.
While D.C. United's two road trips this season haven't exactly produced inspired soccer from the visitors, one thing has become clear: With Bill Hamid in goal, United always have a chance.
It was far from the prettiest game, with both teams still shaking that early-season rust, but D.C. United were plenty happy Saturday night to claim a 1-0 over Real Salt Lake and walk away from Dwayne De Rosario's two-game suspension with a split.
D.C. United's season-opening trip stayed to the script. The Dynamo continued their unbeaten run at home since opening BBVA Compass Stadium, and the visitors struggled to get much going offensively without suspended playmaker Dwayne De Rosario, dropping to 0-8-1 all-time in Houston.
With D.C. United set to kick off their 2013 campaign Saturday in an Eastern Conference final rematch at the Houston Dynamo (8 p.m., NBCSN), here is a player-by-player breakdown of the club's roster after a fairly quiet offseason focused on building depth.
Poised to kick off the 2013 campaign at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday with a starting 11 comprised of holdovers, D.C. United saw that plan thrown askew by the news early Friday that captain Dwayne De Rosario will be suspended for two games after head-butting Philadelphia midfielder Danny Cruz during a preseason game last weekend in Orlando, Fla.
With the MLS season four days away, D.C. United on Tuesday reinforced their depth with the acquisition of midfielder Marcos Sanchez on loan from Panamanian club Tauro FC.
In acquiring Guatemalan veteran Carlos Ruiz via the league allocation process, United bolstered their forward corps with a player boasting 88 MLS goals in eight seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy, FC Dallas, Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union.
Finding a proven replacement for the departed Andy Najar, D.C. United on Thursday acquired right back James Riley from Chivas USA for a second-round supplemental draft pick.
After taking D.C. United from the MLS cellar to within a game of the league title match, coach Ben Olsen on Thursday got a vote of confidence from the front office, which exercised the option year on his contract a season ahead of schedule.
Andy Najar on Wednesday became the first homegrown player in MLS history to earn a transfer abroad, completing a meteoric journey that in three years took him from D.C. United's youth academy to Belgian champion RSC Anderlecht.
D.C. United took advantage of Chivas USA's ongoing roster overhaul under new coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, acquiring forward Casey Townsend, the No. 5 overall pick in last year's SuperDraft, on Friday for a mere second-round selection in 2014.
D.C. United co-owner Erick Thohir's influence extended directly to the team's personnel Friday, with the club's signing of 20-year-old Indonesian midfielder Syamsir Alam on loan from Belgian side C.S. Vise.
Turning a longtime relationship between D.C. United and the Richmond Kickers into an official bond, the clubs Thursday announced their affiliation as part of a multiyear deal between MLS and third-tier USL Pro.
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