- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

D.C. United defender Bobby Boswell is so determined to recover from a throat inflammation called pharyngitis, he requested extra training drills this week after practice. While the other United players cooled down with some stretching exercises at RFK Stadium’s auxiliary field yesterday, Boswell, 23, worked alone with assistant coach Tom Soehn to test out his heading ability from corner kicks.

“Every day is an opportunity to improve as a player,” Boswell said. “I try and do something new after practice, whether it’s fitness, or working on my touch at the back, or working on goal with my heading.”

Boswell missed the season opener, a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls, but returned Saturday to help United beat Chivas USA 2-0. However, he still doesn’t feel fully recovered from his time out.

“I’m still getting back from the illness and I don’t think my fitness level is 100 percent because I lost a lot of weight and was inactive for four days,” Boswell said. “My throat locked up and I was running a pretty high fever and it made it hard to drink and eat and I had to have IVs to get my fluid in.”

Last year — his rookie season — the 6-foot-2 Boswell was a surprise talent, starting in all but six games as the central defender until the club signed Argentine defender Facundo Erpen. Boswell also scored an impressive three goals in the regular season, plus a stunning header against English champion Chelsea in an exhibition game.

In the win over Chivas, Boswell was back as central defender, with Erpen the right back. He likely will play the same role Saturday night, when United plays host to the Houston Dynamo (formerly the San Jose Earthquakes), which was the best team in regular season last year. More importantly for Boswell, the Dynamo have the league’s leading striker in Brian Ching, who has notched five goals in just two games. It will be Boswell’s job to deal with the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Hawaiian, who has one of the best headers in the league.

“I’ve never played against Ching in the run of play,” said Boswell, who earlier this year made his debut for the U.S. national team against Guatemala. “I’ve practiced with him on the national team, but I’m looking forward to the battle. He is a big guy who likes to post up and heads well. We will have our hands full with him and [Alejandro] Moreno, two very physical forwards.”

United coach Peter Nowak is also eager to have Boswell working on all cylinders.

“Right now he is doing some extra work,” Nowak said. “We pushed him more this week in practice because he is not 100 percent. Bobby has a lot to prove against Ching this weekend and he’s still national-team material for the future.”

Notes — Midfielder Clyde Simms sat out practice yesterday with a sore foot. … Spanish giant Barcelona, led by Brazilian World Cup hero Ronaldinho, will play three games this August as part of the club’s first American tour since 2003. Barcelona will play games in Los Angeles (Aug. 6) and Houston (Aug. 9) against Mexican clubs, and in New York against the Red Bulls (Aug. 12).

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