Representing your country is an opportunity that nearly every player dreams of, with national pride often stronger than their allegiance to a particular club. Club owners and managers always wish their players the best playing at the international level, but hold their breath that they return to the club free of injury.
On Tuesday night, D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen’s greatest fear came to fruition.
Representing Canada in a World Cup qualifying match against Panama, D.C United captain Dwayne De Rosario suffered a grade III MCL sprain, sidelining the reigning MLS MVP for the next 10 to 12 weeks.
The injury serves as a massive blow to United’s chances of making the playoffs. Olsen’s squad currently sits in 6th place in the Eastern Conference standings, just one point behind the final playoff spot, held by Columbus.
“DeRo is our captain, a great player and impossible to replace,” said Olsen in an article on MLSsoccer.
“With that said, we have talented players that will step up in his absence and this injury will not be an excuse to fall short of goals we set for ourselves as a team at the beginning of the season.”
“It’s doable. This is not an excuse. We’re not looking for any pity parties. It’s about going forward and getting this job done,” concluded Olsen.
D.C. United host the New England Revolution on Saturday night, and Olsen will surely look to Chris Pontius and Nick Deleon to fill the glaring void in their lineup.
Will United still qualify for the playoffs without the services of DeRo? Who will step up in his absence? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!