Will DCU be without both captains in pivitol Game 2?

Will DCU be without both captains in pivitol Game 2?
November 14, 2012, 5:45 pm
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MLS All-Stars' Chris Pontius, right, of D.C. United, celebrates with Dwayne De Rosario (7), also of D.C. United, after scoring against Chelsea FC during the second half of soccer's MLS All-Star game, Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

(AP Photo/Michael Perez)

D.C. United knows exactly what they must do on Sunday. In order to keep their playoff hopes alive and advance to the Cup Finals, they must win by three goals.  

It isn't an impossible task. In fact, it's one that this club has managed three times already this season. This time, however, they may have to do so with the aid of their two leading goal scorers, who happened to play an integral role in each of the aforementioned victories.  

Chris Pontius, who left Game 1 in Houston on Sunday with a strained groin, may not be ready to go for the second crucial leg of the series.  Pontius, the club's most productive man on offense, has yet to practice with the club this week.

"[Pontius' injury] at this point looks a bit more severe than [Brandon McDonald and Marcelo Saragosa], but there's still a chance that he'll be OK as well."

Dwayne DeRosario, out since early September with a sprained MCL, is currently listed as probable on the MLS injury report.  At the time, the 2011 MLS MVP had notched seven goals on the season and ranked second in the league with 12 assists.  

"[De Rosario] looks good, energized, fresh," said teammate Nick DeLeon. "He looks like he's ready to play."

Olsen wouldn't confirm, but agreed that the chances of seeing De Rosario's return to the pitch this Sunday are good.  But ater missing more than two months, however, the midfielder will not likely be back to true form.

"He looks pretty good at training. The stamina side is different in the playoffs as opposed to a regular game, but that's coming along. We're not sure how many minutes he has in him really, but he certainly can score and change games so you might be able to see him on Sunday."

The team has had to find a way to scrap together wins throughout the season with various players going down and backups stepping in. Goal scoring is distributed fairly evenly on the stat sheet and United is no stranger to moving parts.   

"Someone who hasn't done anything special in one game, the next they're scoring the game-winning goal," said DeLeon. "I have no doubt that someone will step in and fill [Pontius'] role and do just as good or even better."

In desperate need of at least a two goal lead in regulation time in Game 2, Olsen will have to make tweaks to both his game plan and roster.  

"We're certainly going to have to be a little bit more aggressive but nothing really has to change. We've had success at home playing the way we play at home. It's not a thing where we need two goals in the first 20 minutes. If we're in good shape towards the end of this game with a lead, I like our chances. But we can't give one up, we can't be silly on set pieces that they have shown they're pretty darn good at.

"We know we have to be aggressive, we know we have to go after them, but we also have to be patient. It's that fine balance. We know they're not going to want to just sit back, they're going to want to attack as well. It's a little bit of a chess match in that sense."

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