- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

D.C. United is likely to have midfielder Josh Gros back in the starting lineup for Saturday’s home-opener against the Kansas City Wizards at RFK Stadium.

Gros, a left-sided flank player, was sidelined with a concussion and didn’t play in United’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids in the season-opener on the road last weekend. His absence certainly was significant, particularly on the wide, 80-yard field.

“We missed Josh’s speed and work ethic,” defender Bryan Namoff said.

Gros suffered the concussion against CD Guadalajara (Chivas) in Mexico on April 3 after he was hit in the back of the head. He had to leave the field in the 29th minute, and United went on to lose, 2-1.

“I got a grade one concussion,” Gros said Tuesday at United’s charity luncheon. “I feel a lot better. I had a headache and lost some vision during the game, and everything got blurry. I haven’t had any symptoms since. They put me through some tests at practice today. I feel better.”

Gros, 24, was back in full training yesterday.

Reserve midfielder Stephen deRoux started in place of Gros against Colorado and was replaced by new English signing Kasali Casal in the 58th minute. The 19-year-old Casal performed well on the left-flank in his United debut and set up Luciano Emilio’s goal with a fine cross in the 80th minute.

This is not the first time Gros, a fiery player who once spent 10 weeks in a Marine officer training program, has suffered a concussion.

“I had quite a few before so they are being very careful,” said Gros, a third-year veteran with United. “I’ve had about one or two a year since I’ve been with the team, just small ones.”

United is eager to bounce back from a loss in Colorado that was a surprise after the team played so well in four very competitive CONCACAF Champions’ Cup games in the preseason.

“I think we went in lackadaisical,” Gros said. “We had all those games under our belt, and they didn’t have any. Whether that was part of it, I don’t know.”

Goalie Troy Perkins, meanwhile, is trying to move on from a costly error in Guadalajara, where he allowed a shot to slip through his hands in the wet conditions. The goal gave Chivas a 2-1 lead and booted United out of the Champions’ Cup.

“It’s tough, but you have too put it behind you right away,” said Perkins, the league’s top goalie last season. “Ten minutes later I had to make two big saves, and if not, that game could have been 4-1. It happens to goalies in the top leagues in the world. You just don’t want it to happen in big games like that, and unfortunately it did. You say to yourself you will never let it happen again and use it for motivation.”

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