MLS Preview

Defining DC United in One Word: "Resilient"

We continue our MLS team previews built around a one-word descriptor with one of the league's original franchises. Is this the year Ben Olsen climbs to the top of the league as a coach?
BY Matt Thacker Posted
February 28, 2013
2:59 PM
D.C. United overcame the odds to reach the Eastern Conference final last year. The team’s playoff chances appeared on life support when captain Dwayne De Rosario went down with ligament damage in early September, but his teammates responded with a nine-match unbeaten streak. Giving up home-field advantage and having a match postponed due to weather in the conference semifinals also could not stop Ben Olsen’s side, but injuries and suspensions eventually caught up to them in the final.

The core of last year’s team remains in place. James Riley replaces Andy Najar, while Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz was signed after the release of Maicon Santos. D.C. will try its luck with 20-year-old Brazilian striker Rafael as a designated player after Hamdi Salihi and Branko Boskovic failed to live up to expectations with the DP tag.

After finishing fourth in MLS in scoring last year, D.C. should continue to be an offensive threat with Chris Pontius and young Nick DeLeon leading the charge. De Rosario, 34, and Ruiz, 33, continue to impress, but will age finally take its toll?

EXPECTED FINISH: 6th in the Eastern Conference. D.C. should remain in the thick of the playoff race, but the talent is a notch below other contenders in a tough conference.

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