Could DeRo return for NY match?

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Could DeRo return for NY match?

As D.C. United takes on the Red Bulls in Part II of their two-game Eastern Conference Semifinals series, they could have last year's league MVP back in the line up to face his former club.

After suffering a grade 3 MCL sprain in early September, the club announced that Dwayne De Rosario would be sidelined 10-12 weeks and was expected to remain out for the remainder of the season.  With the chance to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2006 on the line, it appears that the club is considering bringing the midfielder back early.  

Both head coach Ben Olsen and De Rosario himself were unavailable to comment after a practice that the DCU midfielder fully participated in on Monday, but his teammates hinted that he could be a part of their game plan in New York.

"I think there's a chance," said current captain Chris Pontius.  "[De Rosario] looked good out there today.  It' s just about how his body responds to practices like this."

De Rosario's return to the pitch would clip his recovery time to just eight weeks, but according to teammates, the midfielder appears ready for action.    

"He looks like the old DeRo to me right now," said Pontius.

"I think with the progression he's made, it seems like just yesterday he got hurt and now looking at the practice field he's going all in," said defender Brandon McDonald.  "I think it's a good chance but you never know.  It's his and [Olsen's] call on how he feels."

Prior to his injury, De Rosario notched his 100th career MLS goal (his seventh of the season) and his 12 assists on the year ranked second in the league.  Despite numerous scoring chances in Game 1, the Black and Red offense failed to register a goal.  De Rosario could add the spark and final touch that D.C. lacked on Saturday.  

"He's MVP of the league last year and he can always bring that special something," said defender Chris Korb.  "Even if it's late in the game coming off the bench he'll definitely add something."

With Heather O'Reilly set to retire, USWNT teammates honor all-time great

With Heather O'Reilly set to retire, USWNT teammates honor all-time great

As U.S. Women’s Soccer star Heather O’Reilly steps into international retirement Thursday night, her soon-to-be former teammates are jumping at the chance to honor O’Reilly one last time.

"She’s the best teammate I ever had,” said Ali Krieger, who has played alongside O’Reilly on the USWNT since 2008. “She’s such an inspiration for so many young athletes, but also for us – her current teammates and the players in the National Women’s Soccer League. She’s been a legend.”

O’Reilly will end her 15-year international career when the U.S. Women face Thailand in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday night.

“She’s motivated me and I know my teammates to want to better themselves every single day,” Krieger said of O’Reilly’s legacy on the national team. “That is something that she can leave us. I’m so happy for her, I’m really proud of her and she continued to inspire me every single day. I wish her all the best and I’m going to miss her like crazy.”

Of all O’Reilly’s teammates, few can appreciate the retiring legend quite like Krieger. The two often featured together on the right side of the U.S. formation, Krieger in defense and O’Reilly just ahead of her in midfield, resulting in a bond that will last beyond their playing days.

“We always say ‘right side – strong side’, so we’re going to hold on to that forever,” Krieger said with a smile. “She’s one of my best friends on the team and I support her decision.”

O’Reilly’s decision was likely made easier by the changing landscape of the national team. After seeing her minutes dwindle during last summer’s successful World Cup run, the 31-year-old veteran was left off the U.S. Olympic Team in August instead traveling to Brazil as an alternate.

Despite that, O’Reilly’s career compares favorably to pretty much every other U.S. international. O'Reilly made her senior international debut while still in high school, and her 230 appearances rank seventh all-time in U.S. Women’s National Team history. 

“It’s so much more than the player that she is and what she’s done for the national team,” said U.S. Women’s National Team forward Crystal Dunn. “It’s her – the person – that I’m going to miss seeing in camps and chatting it up.”

Though they didn’t overlap in Chapel Hill, both Dunn and O’Reilly played collegiately for North Carolina. Thanks to that Tar Heel connection, the duo trained together frequently even when not with the U.S. team.

“She was just one of those people that I looked up to,” Dunn added. “She would kick my butt every single day and I was so in awe that she would go out of her way to help make me better."

MORE SOCCER: STL: 'Tyrant'-like act by Spirit to stifle Rapinoe protest

Spirit players speak out against owner shutting down Rapinoe's protest

Spirit players speak out against owner shutting down Rapinoe's protest

Two days after the Washington Spirit organization changed the timing of their pregame routine in order to preempt Megan Rapinoe’s national anthem protest, Spirit players are speaking out against the team’s decision.

"We respect our owner’s freedom to share his views and we understand his intentions,” read a statement posted on the Spirit website. “But as a team we don’t necessarily agree with those opinions or the actions taken Wednesday evening.” 

The statement - signed ‘all of the players of the Washington Spirit’ - was also posted to Spirit captain, and longtime U.S. Women’s National Team star, Ali Krieger’s personal website. 

“As a team, we were disappointed we were not informed of the plans for the national anthem or given an opportunity to weigh in on the decision,” the statement continued.

The Washington Spirit and Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign FC were still in the locker rooms when the national anthem was played ahead of schedule at Wednesday’s National Women’s Soccer League match between the two teams. 

In an exclusive interview Tuesday afternoon, Rapinoe told CSN that she planned to kneel during the national anthem prior to Wednesday's game - as she did before Sunday's NWSL contest between Seattle and the Chicago Red Stars.