Thanks to an RT from our own blazindw (give him a follow if you're so inclined), some potentially awful news has come to light just as D.C. United was starting to get healthy again. Spanish-language outlet DeporteTotalUSA.com is reporting that Chris Rolfe sustained a broken arm in training today:
Translated to English, the tweet says "Developing: D.C. United player Chris Rolfe broke his left arm in practice this morning."
If true - and at the time this is being written, there are zero reports confirming or denying the veracity of this tweet - there is still a chance Rolfe could play. As longtime United fans know, Josh Gros spent the majority of his DCU career wearing various casts on both arms. Some breaks can be treated with a small enough cast to allow a player to safely play; others cannot. Until the story develops further, it's pointless to speculate how long Rolfe will be out. United has been reticent to discuss injuries all season, so it may be a day or two before we find out more. I also can't pretend to know much about DeporteTotalUSA's record for accuracy, as this is my first experience with them.
What we do know is how valuable Rolfe has been since arriving at the start of April from the Chicago Fire. Ben Olsen quickly installed the Ohio native as his starting left midfielder, and Rolfe's ability to drift inside and combine - particularly with Fabian Espindola - has been a crucial component for United's attack ever since. In 21 total appearances, Rolfe has scored 6 goals and added 6 assists. Those totals are the third- and second-best on the team, respectively.
If Rolfe is out for an extended period, United doesn't have a slew of options to replace him. Lewis Neal would be the most likely candidate, but he lacks Rolfe's mobility and is less of a threat to create for others. Alex Caskey has made a couple of appearances on the left in recent weeks due to Olsen's squad rotation, but has been dogged by a tendency to give the ball away. Chris Pontius - look for more on him on the site tomorrow - would be the clear option if he were fit, but his 2014 debut is a week or two away at best.
Stay tuned as this story develops (or hopefully turns out to be a baseless rumor that we all overreacted to and can laugh about tomorrow).