ON SOCCER: Truly United once again
Finally, D.C. United is healthy again. The club was badly hit by injuries last season but enters Saturday’s meeting with the Houston Dynamo healthy for the first time since June.
Every player on the roster participated in training this week, and only backup goalie Josh Wicks will be sidelined against the Dynamo at RFK Stadium.
Coach Tom Soehn said his team is deeper than last year and he doesn’t need to rush players back into the starting lineup.
“If it were last year I might not make the same decisions, but this year you can be kind of careful in not rushing guys back too soon,” Soehn said. “We’ve got a deeper team, for sure.”
United likely will have top goalie Louis Crayton back in the lineup.
Crayton missed United’s first two games because of a quad injury and was replaced in the nets by Wicks, who joined United just 12 days before the club faced his old team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, in its season opener.
Wicks helped United earn a 2-2 tie at Los Angeles but made a mistake against the visiting Chicago Fire last week that allowed the Fire to steal a 1-1 tie.
Crayton’s last appearance for United was a 1-0 loss at the Columbus Crew on Oct. 23.
“I’ve been ready for the last two weeks,” Crayton said. “This has been the strangest ordeal for me in my entire career, that I’ve been out and up and down with an injury. I’m grateful that everything is over with, and I’m ready to do the job I was brought here for.”
Crayton joined the club in August, replacing Zach Wells, and earned four shutouts in 12 games for a 3-6-3 record. His contract is up this summer.
“His injury is not an issue,” Soehn said of Crayton. “That was over last week. It’s sharpness. He’s getting better and has worked hard the last two weeks. He’d say he’s 150 percent fit. He always tends to lean high. I hope he is 100 percent fit.”
Meanwhile, key attacking midfielders Fred and Santino Quaranta have recovered from hamstring injuries that kept them out of the first two games this season. Both participated fully in practice this week. Quaranta is listed as questionable for Saturday, Fred as probable.
“Fred’s excited to be back and Santino is excited, and they added a lot of positive energy to the locker room,” said defender Devon McTavish, who missed the last game with a head injury and is listed as probable for Saturday.
Quaranta said he’s ready to play, but Soehn is unlikely to rush him back.
“They are always talking about being patient because we have all these steps,” Quaranta said.