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Still dealing with the Branko Boskovic problem at RFK

Sep 18, 2012, 2:35 PM EST

DC United v New York Red Bulls Getty Images

You could say that Ben Olsen was vindicated in his choice to remove playmaker Branko Boskovic after 56 minutes in Saturday’s important 2-1 win over New England.

The lead belonged to the home team, so you could say it was “mission accomplished” for the top creator left at RFK now that Dwayne De Rosario is done for 2012. United held on, moved into fifth place in the East and everything looked …

Well, of course nothing can ever be that simple, now can it?

There’s more to this one, as Boskovic was clearly not thrilled with such a relatively early removal. (We suspect this from his subsequent body language – but since the veteran midfielder hurried out without talking to reporters, that’s just an educated guess on everyone part.)

Olsen was fairly clear, for his part, about why the Montenegrin was yanked.

Well, one, he’s not that fit. He’s not 90 minutes fit. He’s had a while so we knew at some point that he was going to have to come off. It just looked like he was starting to fade a little bit. Branko, offensively, gives you some real magic, and the set pieces I thought he put in today were very good. But there was starting to be a cost to that.”

In my mind, questions about whether Boskovic should start or come off the bench, given his iffy fitness, are irrelevant. Why?

Because he’s not fit! He’s never fit. He never has been fit, as far as most of us can tell.

So why in wide, wide world of sports is this guy still on the DCU roster? I suppose he has some value, particularly at the lower salary negotiated this year. But at some point, isn’t he a luxury item to have around for a club with so much work ahead just to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007? (Not to mention a fairly bad example to have around young players, etc.)

At some point, don’t you “eliminate” a problem rather than continue to “deal” with it. And make no mistake, a player who is perpetually unfit qualifies as a problem.

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