- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 9, 2002

D.C. United coach Ray Hudson went public yesterday about the team's prospects, saying, "Fans shouldn't expect a championship this season because of too many question marks."

Right-flank midfielder Ben Olsen, one of United's biggest question marks, suffered another setback when he had more pain and swelling in his right ankle after being cleared last week to run. Olsen, 24, hasn't played competitive soccer in more than a year after three surgeries on his right ankle.

"I'm pretty much done even talking about [the ankle] because I don't know where I'm at," said Olsen, who originally broke his ankle in March, 2000 while on loan to English First Division club Nottingham Forest. "It's out of my hands at this point. I'm just going with what the doctor wants. I'm getting pretty frustrated now."

Olsen's case recalls that of Holland's Marco Van Basten, who was arguably the greatest striker in the history of the game but was forced to retire at 30 because of numerous ankle surgeries.

Olsen conceded that he won't be available for United's Major League Soccer season opener March 23 in Los Angeles against the Galaxy.

"I thought earlier that I would [play in the opener], but again we pushed back a date for me," Olsen said. "We need to do a better job of communicating with doctors and everybody. It's staying at the same level of pain, and it's not getting better."

While Olsen's return appears weeks away, other injured United players seem on course to return. Midfielder Bobby Convey will resume training today after tearing abdominal scar tissue last week in the U.S. team's 4-0 victory over Honduras.

Convey said it probably will come down to a coach's decision whether he starts in Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions Cup match against Guatemalan club Comunicaciones at RFK Stadium.

Marco Etcheverry (calf strain) trained with the club yesterday but probably won't start because of questions about his fitness. Star forward Jaime Moreno, three weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery, looks to be on target to make his season debut possibly March 30 against the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium.


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