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MLS Preview: What Could Hold Back D.C. United In 2012?

Would an injury to Chris Pontius ruin D.C. United's season again?
Would an injury to Chris Pontius ruin D.C. United's season again?

Remember last week when we previewed the D.C. United 2012 season by having each B&RU writer answer a few questions? I have one question left. What might hold this team back? What could keep United from succeeding.

And no, no one answered "Maicon Santos shooting 220 feet above the goal."

Benuski: My one thing that could hold D.C. United back in 2012 is injuries. Three of the players upon which United will be relying have not played a full recently: Branko Boskovic, Chris Pontius, and Emiliano Dudar. Even with all of United's new found depth, these three are key players who may very well make or break United's season. Even when their injuries were unavoidable, a frequent history can seem to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. As we all know, there are certain players who are just known for getting injuries (Stuart Holden?). We don't want any of our players to go down that road.

In addition to these recent major injuries, it's not like United have the Phoenix Suns wondrous medical staff. Our players seem to pick up minor knocks that keep them out of training, or out for a week, at a surprisingly regular clip. Let's hope that they keep healthy this year, and fulfill the expectations we've all put on them.

Martin: I'm actually less concerned about injuries this year due to the surprising amount of depth that United has acquired. Other than left back, a position that we've scorned here in D.C. for the last decade, United has an MLS starting quality player on the bench at every spot. Injuries suck. But injuries happen to everybody. And I think United is more prepared to deal with injuries this year than they've been in previous years, and is also more prepared that many other teams.

I'm more concerned instead about chemistry. I worry that Dwayne De Rosario will try to take over games on his own while Hamdi Salihi is left hanging without interplay and service. I worry that Perry Kitchen and Branko Boskovic won't develop an elite partnership in central midfield. I worry that Emiliano Dudar's highly acclaimed communication skills will be lost on the rest of this group.

AMT: Poorly timed injuries. Sound familiar? As much as depth has been the mantra this off-season, there's no accounting for bad luck, and a rash of injuries right when our top-line talent is leaving for national team duty would certainly qualify as that. Remember that Chris Pontius hasn't gone a full year without some sort of significant injury since finishing his rookie campaign. Now that Nick DeLeon could be joining up with the T&T U-23s, our margin of error - while still larger than last year - is somewhat narrower than is comfortable.