It’s been a long two games for D.C. United without their playmaker, Luciano Acosta, but there may be reason for hope in the nation’s capital. After picking up an ankle injury in the final preseason game against the Philadelphia Union, Acosta had not practiced for United, who have managed just one point and zero goals scored to start the season.
But true to head coach Ben Olsen’s word, Acosta returned to practice Monday, even as United scrambled around their usual training schedule due to the winter storm on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
And at Wednesday’s practice, Acosta was spotted out on United’s turf practice field by B&RU, the first time he’s been seen on a field for a month.
“He’s been training, and he’s been getting through [the sessions]. We’re going to keep evaluating him every day, and make sure we’re moving forward,” Olsen told members of the media on Wednesday. “And that this isn’t two steps forward, one step back with him. So far, so good.”
United normally takes Monday off regardless of whether they play on Saturday or Sunday during the weekend. They typically return to the practice field on Tuesday, but limit the heavy work to the group of players who didn’t start and play most of the game during the weekend.
But with the storm coming in, United practiced Monday, took off Tuesday, and then returned to training on Wednesday. Acosta participated on Monday, but didn’t go through the entire session. On Wednesday, Olsen said that Acosta did just about everything at that day’s training.
“Somewhat limited on Monday. He was for the most part there [today],” said Olsen. “We’re just going to evaluate him. Push them, and then evaluate him the next day, and see how he responds the training load. If he continues to be 100% for several days, then we’ll have a decision to make.”
This weekend, United hosts Columbus Crew SC at RFK Stadium. Conditions look to improve from Wednesday, when the team took the practice field at midday with temperatures in the 20s, and snow surrounding the field. United then have a week off from matches due to the FIFA international break.
But Olsen has no plans of slow playing Acosta’s return to the field or to save him for better conditions. “If he’s ready, he’s going to play,” stated Olsen. “‘Ready’ is a relative term. We want to make sure he’s 100% to get back on the field.”