Taxi Fountas, D.C. United’s leading scorer last year and a key figure in the team’s hopes of rebounding from a last-place finish, will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a hamstring injury, club officials said Monday.
Fountas missed the 3-2 season-opening victory over Toronto FC on Saturday and, based on the timetable, will not debut until April 1 in Chicago at the earliest. The Greek forward was not on United’s injury report Wednesday — the day teams submit their lists for the purpose of game notes — and was hurt in a training session Thursday, the club said.
Fountas, a designated player entering his second MLS season, recorded 12 goals and three assists in 21 matches (17 starts) last year. He missed the last two games after being accused by Inter Miami players of directing a racial slur at an opponent during a match.
In Fountas’s absence Saturday at Audi Field, Nigel Robertha played 67 minutes before yielding to Ted Ku-DiPietro, a 21-year-old homegrown player who assisted on Christian Benteke’s 90th-minute equalizer and scored in the eighth minute of stoppage time. United had not scored three times since July 4 in Orlando, a stretch of 20 games.
Robertha or Ku-DiPietro is expected to start Saturday when United visits the Columbus Crew (0-1-0).
Fountas joins winger Martín Rodríguez (ACL injury last week) and center backs Derrick Williams (lower leg injury in the preseason) and Brendan Hines-Ike (recovering from foot surgery) on the injury report. Center back Steven Birnbaum (illness) did not start against Toronto but entered in the second half and is likely to start in Columbus.