Suspensions shift plans for defensive starters

Defensive changes could be on tap for D.C. United as it heads to the suburbs for its latest U.S. Open Cup encounter.

For the third season in a row, and second straight in the fourth round, United will meet its closest MLS neighbor, the Philadelphia Union. After a prevailing in a penalty shootout in 2011, D.C. was undone last year in a 2-1 loss that included a Philadelphia goal by former United midfielder Brian Carroll and an a game-winning assist from former prodigy Freddy Adu in his native Montgomery County.

With a victory, United will earn a quarterfinal clash with New England or New York at SoccerPlex on June 26.

Up next
Union at United
When » Wednesday, 7
Where » Maryland SoccerPlex,
Boyds, Md.

While United went without Brandon McDonald for last month's third-round win in penalties at Richmond due to a red-card suspension, the team won't have the services of right back Chris Korb against the Union after he was one of two D.C. players sent off against the Kickers. Forward Carlos Ruiz was also ejected and is suspended.

The rotation out of the lineup could lead to the return of center back Dejan Jakovic, who was at fault on two of the three goals scored by Philadelphia in its 3-2 victory at RFK Stadium when the teams met during league play in April. Jack McInerney, who scored twice in that match, continues to lead Major League Soccer with 10 goals, and teammate Sebastian Le Toux is also first with six assists.

Jakovic has missed the last three league matches with a groin strain but declared himself fit after participating in training Monday.

United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario might also be available for a full 90 minutes after being used as a substitute for the second time in three matches in United's scoreless draw at New England last weekend.

"Whether Dwayne starts or comes off the bench, he's a threat," United coach Ben Olsen said. "He's been very good about accepting that, although it's not easy. But he also understands he's going to play a big part in the next stretch of games."

One player that won't be available is defender Alain Rochat, who isn't yet eligible after moving from Canada to the U.S. in a trade from the Vancouver Whitecaps. After his first United training session, the Canadian-born, Swiss-bred veteran blasted the process that moved him across the continent and uprooted him from his pregnant wife and family.

"If you ask my opinion, I would say it's terrible," Rochat said. "This trade thing could be OK in the offseason. You can sit down and talk to the guys. 'OK, it will be better for you to be traded.' You know, like something human instead of, 'OK, we don't need you anymore.' "

Rochat is expected to be available when United, which is winless in a franchise-record 12 matches, hosts Toronto FC in MLS action on Saturday.

"He helps us out offensively and defensively," Olsen said. "He's a very cultured player, a great passer. He's been around a while so he brings some experience, and his versatility will help us as well."