An injury to outside back Chris Korb will force D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen to juggle his lineup for the rest of the season.
The fifth-year pro who has played 96 games since being selected out of the University of Akron by United in the 2011 SuperDraft second round suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during a 3-1 loss Thursday at Yankee Stadium. He was chasing a ball near the endline in the 77th minute when a shoulder charge from New York City FC defender Angelino knocked him off-stride.
“It was just a freak thing, but as soon as it happened, I kind of knew,” he told the Washington Post.
Korb, 27, had started 17 of 18 league games this year and registered two assists without scoring a goal. He played left back, a position he’s filled in the past for United, at the start of the season, then shifted to the right in June when tendinitis sidelined Sean Franklin. He kept the right-back slot when Franklin returned to the lineup in midfield against NYCFC.
Surgery hasn’t been scheduled and normal recovery time for the injury is at least six months. That long a recovery would extend into the start of next season in March, 2016.
“I just want to be healthy again, whenever that comes,” he said. “As long as I am healthy again, I will be happy. A month in, two months in, I’m hoping to be ready to go next year.”
Said Olsen, “It’s just one of those plays where two guys are going pretty hard shoulder-to-shoulder. I thought initially he popped his shoulder out. In looking back, he puts a lot of force on that plant leg and you see a little something that doesn’t seem right.”
Korb’s absence will reinstall Franklin, who played both outside back and midfield for the Galaxy prior to joining United via the Re-Entry Draft after the 2013 season, as first-choice right back. Olsen said other options are centerback Steve Birnbaum, midfielder Nick DeLeon and reserve defenders Luke Mishu and Jalen Robinson.