Canadian may fill hole in midfielder for United

Kyle Porter was surprised his first MLS goal was called back. D.C. United was even more surprised later when it was told it should have stood.

"The real first one is coming," Porter said.

The 23-year-old Canadian is a top candidate to help United (1-2-1) deal with an increasingly depleted midfield in a difficult road test at Sporting Kansas City (2-1-2). In addition to injured starters John Thorrington (left knee) and Nick DeLeon (right hamstring), who are both out for at least the next month, Dwayne De Rosario didn't travel to Kansas City after suffering an adductor strain last week.

Up next
D.C. United at Sporting Kansas City
When » Friday, 8:30 p.m.
Where » Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.

Porter's would-be goal after he replaced DeLeon against Columbus on March 23 would have made a difference in United's eventual 2-1 loss. He played through an offside flag that wasn't whistled late in the first half, waltzing in for an easy goal. Referee Allen Chapman changed his mind after consulting with assistant referee Craig Lowry, only to have the Pro Referee Organization later issue an explanation saying the goal should have been allowed.

"I guess it's a part of the game, right?" Porter said. "I have to use that as confidence and continue to go from there."

Porter parlayed 12 goals for FC Edmonton in the second-tier North American Soccer League last year into a national team call-up over the winter. He then found his way into D.C. United's training camp even though his MLS rights were owned by Vancouver. United gave the Whitecaps a 2014 supplemental draft pick to make his acquisition permanent.

"Porter's got great offensive instincts," United coach Ben Olsen said. "We're trying to bring him along on the other side, and he's getting there."

Porter also hopes to get back on the Canadian national team -- alongside United teammates De Rosario and Dejan Jakovic -- for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup. Playing time, no matter how it comes about, should boost his resume.

"He's a tricky player," Jakovic said. "He definitely has wheels, good speed, pretty good touch and a good shot, too. I think he's come and done well. I think he needs still a bit more time to adjust with the group of guys, but I like what I've seen so far."