Limited by knee injuries to just 11 appearances in all competitions this season, D.C. United midfielder Markus Halsti will miss some more time next month to represent Finland.
Halsti, 31, has been named to the Finland squad for European Championship qualifiers against Greece Sept. 4 in Athens and against the Faroe Islands Sept. 7 in his hometown of Helsinki. He will leave after United’s game Sunday against the Red Bulls.
Finland is fifth in Group F, which is topped by Romania, with a record of 1-4-1 (wins-losses-ties) after losing its last four games. The top two teams in each group qualify automatically for the Euro 2016 tournament to be hosted by France and for the first time consist of 24 teams. The third-place team either qualifies directly or goes into a playoff. Finland has never qualified for the European Championships nor a World Cup.
Halsti debuted for Finland in 2008 and has played for his country 22 times. His last appearance was in a 1-0 loss to Hungary June 13.
In his first season with United, Halsti -- who signed an MLS contract in January that pays him a base salary of $275,000 -- has played seven league games (five starts) without registering a goal or an assist. His only league start in the past two months was in a 3-1 loss to New York City FC Aug. 13. He’s also started two games in the U.S. Open Cup and started both Concacaf Champions League matches, against Arabe Unido in midfield, dropping into the back line when a bruised thigh forced Steve Birnbaum out of the game, and then in the back against Montego Bay United on Tuesday night.