D.C. United will also be without Markus Halsti for Friday's game at Sporting Kansas City and next Wednesday's home game against the Seattle Sounders. He's been called in by Finland and will play two friendlies with the Huuhkajat. Halsti broke the news himself last night:
The 32-year old Halsti is part of a Finland squad (coached by former New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe) that will play friendlies with two sides preparing for the Euro 2016 tournament. Finland will face Belgium on June 1st, followed by Italy on June 6th. Halsti has recently played as a defender for the Finns, so if he does play in either match it will likely be in back.
While Halsti's country summary is easy, his club one is a little murkier. He started late in preseason due to the birth of his second child with his wife, then dealt with fitness and injury issues in the preseason. He tried playing through the latter but only aggravated his knee, and his only appearance in 2016 thus far has been in the CONCACAF Champions League against Queretaro. Jared Jeffrey has passed him on the depth chart as the primary back-up for Marcelo Sarvas at defensive midfield, and there has been talk for a while that Halsti could agree to mutually terminate his contract in pursuit of playing time. With his guaranteed salary coming in at $275,000 and United - we would think - looking to make some moves in the summer, freeing up that cap space, a roster spot, and an international roster spot simultaneously has some appeal.
So, while we wish Halstinho well in his time back in Europe, one can't help wonder if he finds an answer to his playing time problems while there as well.