Photo courtesy of D.C. United.

United lose Ortiz, but gain much needed depth ahead of matchup with Orlando City

D.C. United’s travel this Memorial Day weekend included planes, busses and more planes as United looks to close out their two-game road trip Wednesday against Orlando City SC.

After a well-fought road win against the Vancouver Whitecaps, United took a bus to Seattle, Washington. From there the team hopped on a flight to Orlando for a quick turnaround in a midweek matchup.

Luckily for United, Orlando City SC Designated Player Kaká will not be available for Wednesday’s match.

While Orlando loses their star, United gain back some much needed legs in their roster.

Midfielders Lloyd Sam and Patrick Nyarko departed Reagan National Airport earlier this week with defender Jalen Robinson and forward Alhaji Kamara to join the rest of the club in Orlando for a day of training before Wednesday’s match. Sam missed the game in Vancouver due to a team-reported groin injury. United had six reserve players on the bench instead of seven due to Sam’s injury.

Nyarko has not played a game since April 8 due to a hamstring injury, but slowly returned to training ahead of United’s most recent trip out west. For Nyarko, his return has been more about fitness than health.

“I am a little out of shape,” Nyarko said of his first training back on May 16. “It is a matter of building up the fitness. I have a little bit of the base, but it is always different. Running around with the team, I was a little gassed earlier on.”

Nyarko missed about six weeks last season after suffering a concussion. The midfielder has had his fair share of concussions throughout his career and said that this season’s hamstring injury recovery is nowhere near as long and difficult as concussion recovery.

“The last time I had a long term injury it was a concussion around this time last year and those you cannot really do anything,” Nyarko said. “I was out for two months, and I couldn’t do anything. I lost all of the fitness. At least this time I could move around and jog around a little. The base is there so it is about slowly transitioning back into soccer practice.”

Since losing Nyarko, along with a handful of starters over the last three months, United has gone 2-4-1. After a three-game losing streak at home, United gathered three points and have only dropped one game on the road in the same timeframe. For Nyarko, it is tough to sit on the sidelines unable to contribute.

“We are all sitting back there, and personally I feel a little guilty not being able to help the team when they need it,” Nyarko said. “It is pretty testing on the mind.”

While Nyarko will get the chance to contribute to the team this week, United lose forward Jose Ortiz after MLS disciplinary review. Ortiz was suspended for simulation/embellishment in a play that lead to the lone goal in the Vancouver-United match.

Losing Ortiz, but gaining Nyarko, Sam, Robinson and Kamara, United look to bolster a positive streak on the road at Orlando City SC on Wednesday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m.

United Extra

Kamara, who last played for United October 23 against Orlando, has one goal in eight games played with United since his acquisition a little more than a year ago.

Kamara has spent a decent amount of time playing with United’s USL affiliate the Richmond Kickers.

Last week, Kamara scored the first hat trick since 2015 for the Kickers and was named to the USL team of the week. See his highlights below:

Emily Olsen
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Emily Olsen

DC United Beat Writer at The Left Bench
Emily Olsen is the D.C. United beat reporter for The Left Bench. She has also covered basketball recruiting. Emily dreams of one day traveling the world reporting on the Olympics and World Cups. In her off time, Emily enjoys coloring outside the lines.
Emily Olsen
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About Emily Olsen 112 Articles
Emily Olsen is the D.C. United beat reporter for The Left Bench. She has also covered basketball recruiting. Emily dreams of one day traveling the world reporting on the Olympics and World Cups. In her off time, Emily enjoys coloring outside the lines.