The pool of D.C. United players available for selection shrunk once again on Saturday night with Moses Nyeman and Joseph Mora both sent off following red cars in a 0-0 draw at FC Cincinnati.
It has almost become comical for head coach Hernán Losada, who throughout his first 16 games in Major League Soccer has lost players to injury, international duty and, in this case, red card suspensions.
Losada, 39, who only retired from professional soccer in 2018 when he left his longtime club in Belgium, joked after the game that he was "going to have to put the cleats on and be on the bench."
Despite finishing the game with just nine men on the field, the Black-and-Red (6-3-7, 21 points) held on to secure a 0-0 draw and extend their unbeaten run to three games.
They did so in the absence of midfielder Paul Arriola and defender Donovan Pines, who are on U.S. national team duty at the Gold Cup, in addition to six other players battling injury — their would-be starting forward and top scorer, Ola Kamara, among them as he goes through concussion protocol.
Brendan Hines-Ike, Adrien Perez, Edison Flores and Nigel Robertha are all impact players who are currently battling long-term injuries. Midfielder Russell Canouse (ankle) and Kamara are expected to return soon.
Losada has turned to D.C. United's homegrown players to fill the numerous voids in the squad, including Nyman, Griffin Yow and Kevin Paredes.
In addressing the sending offs after the game, Losada told reporters "we can't forget Moses is 17. It's part of the process that they are going to make mistakes."
Inexperience, however, has hardly been an issue for the trio of homegrowns. Between them they've tallied three goals and four assists helping keep United within one point of a playoff spot while their veteran teammates have missed time.
A point on the road, particularly given the circumstances, was "fantastic" according to Losada. But as the halfway mark of the season approaches, D.C. United will have to find a way to take maximum points from key fixtures starting with their Eastern Conference rivals in Columbus on Wednesday. United is in eighth place in the conference. The Crew (6-6-4, 24 points) is just ahead in sixth place.
The game airs at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington with pregame coverage starting at 7.