MLS Eastern Conference Notes: DeRosario returns, Marshall reaches milestone, and more

DwayneDeRosarioPreSeason1 (getty)

By DARRELL LOVELL

The struggling United attack will get a lift this weekend as captain Dwayne De Rosario is primed to return to the lineup. The club’s attack has been anemic so far in 2013 scoring just two goals in five games. With Nick DeLeon on the shelf as well, getting De Rosario back is the boost that will, hopefully for D.C., bring their attack back to life.

“He heals pretty quickly for an old man,” Coach Ben Olsen told reporters with a laugh. “We will have a good idea [of his status] tomorrow, but I expect him to be available”

Here are some other notes from around the Eastern Conference:

COLUMBUS CREW
In the 58th-minute of Saturday draw with the Philadlephia Union, Chad Marshall became the first Crew player to surpass 20,000 minutes. The 10-year MLS veteran has battled injuries through his career, but is considered one of the league’s top center backs over his career.

“It’s a good accomplishment for the player,” coach Robert Warzycha said. “He has to be doing something right, and he’s well-known and respected by the community and the organization to be able to stay with one club and perform as well as he has.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO

Houston are hoping that an extra day of rest this week will mean a return to the lineup of attackers Will Bruin and Boniek Garcia. The pair missed Saturday’s 2-0 loss at the Portland Timbers with a hamstring and ankle injury respectively. With this weekend’s match against the Chicago Fire coming Sunday, the club is taking a cautious approach and looking to make no mistakes in getting the pair ready.

MONTREAL IMPACT
When the Impact host the Crew Saturday they plan to do so on their very natural home turf. After being chased indoors to Olympic Stadium twice this season, the Impact plan to play this weekend’s home match at the open-air Stade Saputo despite the forecast calling for a 41-degrees and rain. It will be just the second time this season the club has played on natural grass, the first being in their 2-0 loss at Sporting KC March 30.

“It will be an adjustment. We’ll be outside and we’ll be on grass,” midfielder Patrice Bernier said. “The fans will be closer and it’ll be a better atmosphere. It’s our real home and we had good results there.”

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The Revolution look to have prepared for life after Matt Reis as they announced they have signed goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to a new contract. Shuttleworth, 25, has started 21 games for the Revolution since 2010, including an extended run at the end of 2012 when the club was looking to see if he was the answer for the future. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’re pleased Bobby has decided to re-sign and continue his career in New England,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns said. “Bobby is a player who’s made great progress as a goalkeeper during his time here and we believe his improvement will continue as he competes for regular first-team minutes.”

NEW YORK RED BULLS
With D.C. United preparing to re-introduce De Rosario to their attack, the Red Bulls may up the ante by welcoming back two attackers in Thierry Henry and Fabian Espindola. The pair of strikers have been on the mend but after a promising week of workouts, it looks like Mike Petke could have two very good weapons as his club heads into the Eastern Conference showdown.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Soony Saad is doing his part to pick up any slack in the SKC attack. The 20-year-old has appeared in five of SKC’s six games, including a start, and is showing the promise that made him a star while at the University of Michigan. That skill was evident when he made the most of an 83rd-minute introduction last week when he set up the game-winning goal by Claudio Bieler to down D.C. United.

“I foresee him as somebody who scores a lot of goals in this league and makes things happen,” C.J. Sapong said. “He’s a shifty player and a very clinical finisher as well.”

Sporting has the weekend off and will next play New York April 17.

PHILADELPHIA UNION

John Hackworth is looking for a balanced midfield and his newest signing is getting closer to helping make that reality. Brazilian Kleberson is working his way into the squad and is targeting a possible weekend debut versus the Toronto FC. With the Brazilian and Michael Farfan both working their way towards being game-ready, the Union could have the midfield they have sought.

TORONTO FC
Road points are something every team covets, but a year after not securing their first road result until June; Toronto are targeting what head coach Ryan Nelsen believes is a prime opportunity to start their account in 2013. The club travels to Philadelphia this weekend to take on the Union. In familiar surroundings, the Reds believe they have what it takes to notch a result in PPL Park.

“It’s not really a slight or a disrespect to their team,” Darren O’Dea said. “It’s more of a fact that you’re going to Philly and the environment (won’t be new).

“You go to Houston, Dallas and L.A. and the environment is completely different,” O’Dea clarified. “We know how tough it will be, anywhere in the league going away from home is tough.”

According to the report, the club could be without Richard Eckersley who tweaked his left hamstring in the come-from-behind draw versus FC Dallas last week. He could be joined on the bench by Terry Dunfield, who could miss his second game in a row with a knee injury.

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