2012 DC United Preview

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by The Richuation, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

    Jul 18, 2010


    Depth Chart: 1. Hamid, 2. Willis

    Strengths: At just 21 years old, Bill Hamid has established himself as Jurgen Klinsmann's heir apparent in goal and has the luxury of a full season as Ben Olsen's unquestioned first choice to look back on. With a productive offseason under his belt, the burgeoning goalkeeping prospect should pick up right where he left off last October.

    Weaknesses: This is a talented group, but experience is in short supply. Hamid and Joe Willis have barely more than a season's worth of starts between them. With Hamid standing likely be gone for extended periods on Olympic duty and with the full national team, the pressure will be on Willis, who made three starts in stand-in duty during his rookie season in 2010, to keep the level from falling off.

    Wildcard: Andrew Dykstra – a onetime opening-day starter in Chicago – seems to have the inside track for the third goalkeeper slot on the roster, although nothing is official yet. If he does make the team, Dykstra should push Willis for a spot on the bench after a year in the NASL.


    Depth Chart: RB: 1. Russell, 2. Korb; CB: 1. Dudar – McDonald, 2. Jakovic, 3. White; LB: 1. Woolard, 2. Korb

    Strengths: After a season of turmoil in the center of defense a year ago, D.C. United have managed to gather a talented group of central defenders that goes four deep. Ethan White played almost 2,000 minutes for the club in 2011, but he figures to have a long route to the field with Brandon McDonald back in black and red, Dejan Jakovic healthy again and the arrival of Argentine Emiliano Dudar.

    Weaknesses: The presence of Brazilian trialist Guilherme Alves da Costa is a pretty good indication that Olsen sees left back as a position in need of reinforcement. Woolard is a solid option, but doesn't provide much offensive thrust. At the very least, United could use depth at outside back, especially since it seems Perry Kitchen's long-term home is defensive midfield.

    Wildcard: Early indications are that Dudar has impressed in camp with his ability on the ball and composure under pressure. Success in MLS comes down to more than pure talent, though. Can he adapt quickly and stay healthy over the course of a grueling regular season?


    Depth Chart: LM 1. Pontius, 2. DeLeon; AM 1. Boskovic, 2. King; DM 1. Kitchen, 2. Saragosa; RM 1. Najar, 2. Cruz

    Strengths: When healthy and on form, D.C. United could have the best midfield attacking trio in the league. Andy Najar is the club's most dynamic player outside Dwayne De Rosario, Chris Pontius is nearly healed from the injury that ended his season and Branko Boskovic is healthy and ready to pick out the passes that will spring his teammates.

    Weaknesses: The talent is not in doubt, but durability could be a question mark. Pontius and Boskovic will be playing with recently repaired appendages. Olsen needs both to stay healthy in order for D.C. to live up to their potential.

    Wildcard: Kitchen has made the move to defensive midfield after playing mostly right back a season ago. How he handles the switch will determine how much freedom his attack-minded teammates have to go forward. If Kitchen transitions smoothly and plays up to his potential, D.C. will have found a good balance between steel and flash.


    Depth Chart: 1. De Rosario, 2. Salihi, 3. Wolff, 4. Santos

    Strengths: De Rosario won't have to shoulder quite the burden he did in 2011, a prospect opposing defenses can't be too thrilled about. With the addition of Hamdi Salihi, Olsen has – at the very least – a forward with a history of scoring goals at every stop he's made. If the Albanian can distract defenses, De Rosario should have a field day finding holes to exploit.

    Weaknesses: Josh Wolff and Maicon Santos are solid bench options and spot starters, but United. need Salihi to justify his DP tag and he remains an unknown quantity at this point. If he isn't as advertised or can't stay healthy, De Rosario is going to be leaned on heavily once again. He handled that extraordinarily last season, but it would be a tall task for him to replicate what was a career year.

    Wildcard: Santos has largely been a disappointment during his MLS stops in Toronto and Dallas, but he is still just 27 years old and managed to score eight goals in 2011. If Olsen can get Santos on the right track and convince him to up his workrate, the Brazilian could go a long way toward kicking his reputation for underachievement.

    Setting the Scene

    After months of negotiations, Dwayne De Rosario is finally locked in long term and content with his lot in the nation's capital. And, unlike much of 2011, he should have a healthy supporting cast around him ready to share some of the heavy lifting as D.C. United attempt to return to the postseason for the first time since 2007.

    To give the MLS MVP some additional help after a season in which he scored 13 goals in just 17 starts, D.C. United took a dip into the international transfer market this offseason, capturing Argentine defender Emiliano Dudar and Albanian Designated Player Hamdi Salihi, who will be expected to replace, and preferably exceed, Charlie Davies' production from a year ago.

    The real key to United's season, however, will be the play of Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, Bill Hamid and Chris Pontius, who form a young core that rivals any in MLS. If Najar, Kitchen and Hamid continue their rapid rises and Pontius is able to bounce back after breaking his leg late last year, this United team should be the one to return the original MLS powerhouse to the playoffs.

    In and Out

    IN: D Robbie Russell (11/29: trade from RSL); M Nick DeLeon (1/12: SuperDraft); M Lance Rozeboom (1/17: supplemental draft); D Charles Rodriguez (1/17: supplemental draft); M Matt Kuhn (1/17: supplemental draft); FMaicon Santos (1/18: free); M Danny Cruz (1/20: trade from Houston); D Emiliano Dudar (1/25: free/BSC Young Boys); F Hamdi Salihi (2/2: Rapid Vienna); M Marcelo Saragosa (2/6: Ravan Baku)

    OUT: M Santino Quaranta (12/7: retired); D Marc Burch (12/12: Re-Entry Stage 2/Seattle); M Clyde Simms (12/12: Re-Entry Stage 2/New England); M Brandon Barklage (12/12: option declined); G Steve Cronin (12/12: option declined); F Joseph Ngwenya (12/12: option declined); D Jed Zayner (12/12: option declined); D Devon McTavish (12/22: retired); F Blake Brettschneider (2/3: waived)

    Star Attraction: Dwayne De Rosario

    There is nobody better in MLS at making something out of nothing, and DeRo did plenty by himself last season in D.C. following a trade from New York on June 27. He scored in bunches (13 goals in 18 appearances) and made sure his teammates were involved as well (seven assists). It is unlikely that the Canadian legend will match his career totals from 2011 (16 goals and 13 assists between three teams), but the 33-year-old shouldn't need to do that for United to have a successful season.

    Unsung Hero: Daniel Woolard

    Woolard (pictured right) is steady, if unspectacular, and that's exactly what manager Ben Olsen needs from him at left back. He's been an underdog for most of his career, spending his college years at Midwestern State University and playing with the Carolina RailHawks before arriving in MLS, but Woolard proved he belonged last season. He made what was by far a career-high in starts in 2011 with 26 and figures to hold the starting left back job in 2012 unless United makes a move to bolster the options at left back, which are fairly thin at the moment.

    Ready for Primetime: Andy Najar

    Entering his third season, Najar's is on the cusp of being one of MLS superstardom. The teenager's physical and technical talents are undeniable, and if he takes the expected steps forward tactically and mentally, Najar will be an absolute nightmare for the outside backs and midfielders tasked with slowing him down.

    Storylines to Watch

    1. Can Branko Boskovic finally live up to his Designated Player tag? After losing almost all of 2011 to injury, Boskovic finds himself in somewhat of a precarious position. His contract is up in the summer, meaning he only has a few months to prove he is healthy, on form and worth a renewed committment. The talent is certainly there, but D.C. haven't seen much, if any, return on their investment in two seasons. Boskovic is still looking for his first MLS goal and assist.

    2. Will United's international signings make the cut? Dudar and Salihi have solid track records in Europe, but both did their damage in what most would consider second-tier leagues in Austria and Switzerland. If their skills translate to MLS, United's ceiling will be high. If not, the roster suddenly looks much less fleshed out.

    What He Said

    "“It’s nice to be with an organization that has the same goals and ambitions as I. D.C. United has a very rich history and one that we want to relive in the near future – hopefully we can start this year. It’s a great feeling to be associated with the United family. Ever since I came here, the organization and the fans have accepted me as part of the family, and I want to keep this family growing all across the DC area and relive those special moments.”
    – Dwayne De Rosario after signing a new contract with D.C. United earlier this week

    If Everything Goes Right

    D.C. are thinking playoffs or bust this season, and they may even have designs on a dark-horse conference championship. They may not be among the more fancied squads during the preseason, but this is going to be a formidable team to deal with once all the new additions are on the same page and key players recover fully from injury. The young core Olsen has at his disposal is reason enough to get excited.
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  2. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

    Jul 18, 2010
  3. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

    Jul 18, 2010
    Isn't your striker the dude that snuck him and his wife into the White House?
  4. weeman11

    weeman11 Walk On

    Oct 9, 2011
    DeRo!!!!!1 MVP from la year and the history, so he was traded bc he wanted more $$$. Dummies!!!!
  5. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

    Jul 18, 2010
    AJ Hart MN

    Check this out... help you get to know your squad.

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