In case you thought this season was done meting out punishment and sadness, you were wrong. D.C. United confirmed today that midfielder John Thorrington and defender Dejan Jakovic will both be out for the rest of the 2013 season with injuries. Per Steve Goff at the Washington Post, the veteran duo will be unavailable for this weekend's tilt with the Philadelphia Union, next week's trip to the midwest to face Sporting Kansas City, and the season-ending home game against the Houston Dynamo on October 27th.
Thorrington's injury was one we knew about after he was substituted just before halftime against the Chicago Fire on Friday. While competing with Fire forward Juan Luis Anangono for a loose ball, Thorrington went to the turf and almost immediately signaled to the bench that he needed to come off. The calf strain that resulted was always likely to end his season - calf strains tend to take four to five weeks if all goes well, and often it doesn't - and Ben Olsen admitted as much in his post-game quotes.
Jakovic's injury, it turns out, is an adductor strain that came at some point during last Tuesday's US Open Cup final. United didn't add him to the injury report this past weekend, but he was left out of the matchday 18 to play the Fire. Jakovic was about to link up with the Canadian national team in England for training and a friendly, so United was going to be without him against Philly anyway.
The two injuries - combined with Ethan White's status being up in the air due to a swollen knee - will likely mean Perry Kitchen playing more center back, leaving a void in central midfield next to Jared Jeffrey. If Olsen doesn't want to get away from our normal flat-ish midfield four, his options in the middle include LEWIS NEAL!, Collin Martin (who played about 16 minutes in such a role after Thorrington came out against Chicago), Nick DeLeon, or Marcelo Saragosa. If he wants to follow through on his discussion of experimenting, however, we could see a move to a diamond with Luis Silva (or Martin, for that matter) underneath two forwards.
In the back, there are far fewer options. Kitchen is not a center back, but if White is unable to go United is essentially forced to play him back there. Conor Shanosky and Daniel Woolard are candidates for the other spot, and after that the cupboard is bare. We saw Marcelo Saragosa spend time at center back against Toronto FC, and we may end up having to use him there again with one more injury or suspension (note: Kitchen and Chris Korb are one yellow card away from going over the limit for yellow card accumulation).
Let us know how you'd like Olsen to tackle this latest problem, or if you happen to be a pretty decent center back yourself.