This is not how D.C. United wanted to kick off the season. Facing a big rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Final, at the scene where a controversial no-call undoubtedly changed the course of the match and allowed the Houston Dynamo to come from behind to build a lead in the first leg, Ben Olsen's side were hoping for every advantage heading into First Kick this weekend. Foremost among them would be Dwayne De Rosario, the captain and most creative presence on the field for the Black-and-Red. So much for that.
Steve Goff is reporting that the MLS Disciplinary Committee, the five-member secret board that doles out extra punishment for actions that merit it, has given DeRo at least a one-match suspension, pending a potential appeal to Don Garber by De Rosario or the MLS Players' Union. Goff's sources seem to have left the door open for a potential multiple game ban, which could render DeRo unavailable for the home opener Mar. 9 against Real Salt Lake.
This obviously has huge tactical and formational implications for United, as the next most creative central player currently match-fit is John Thorrington, who might be able to play in that advanced midfield role. Alternatively, in DeRo's absence, United could do without a central playmaker and move Chris Pontius into the middle as a second striker, filling his vacated spot on the wing by either of new signings Kyle Porter and Marcos Sanchez.
As if it weren't already, Saturday's season opener just got a lot more interesting. And not necessarily in a good way. Assuming DeRo is out for this weekend, how would you like to see Ben Olsen adjust the team? Vote in our poll and let us know in the comments.