The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

DCU: Back to the Future!

Posted by steigs on March 5, 2009

The MLS season nears and DC United has unveiled the big off-season signing — Christian Gomez!  With Gallardo, the Gonzalos, and Wells all gone, it’s as if the team has decided to largely wish away a frustrating ’08 season.  Let’s put the band back together!  It’s hard to believe that an attack featuring Gomez, Emilio, Moreno, and Fred will be all that much better than they were a couple of years ago, given the years and the miles on some of them.  But it’s not implausible to think they’ll be better than last year’s offense, even if we can’t count on Olsen for much this time around.  Well, when they’re healthy, which is another issue.

This looks to me like a holding action.  Let’s get another play-off team together, one the fans will like, and hope lightning strikes next fall once we reach the play-offs.  (Alas, it did strike in the ’06 and ’07 play-offs but took out United.)  And then get more serious about rebuilding in ’10, hoping that a few of the kids (Jacobson?  Pontius?  Wallace?) show potential as building blocks when they have to step up to replace over-30 vets.

Over at the Fullback Files, Michael is “refining the roster,” following the Goffster’s updates on who is in and who is gone etc etc.  He seems to be mildly optimistic, like me: 

I’m generally a bit more optimistic than I was just a week ago, and I think we’ve assembled enough good pieces to make the playoffs, but will we be able to do damage once there?

My answer to that, aside from the inevitable health or lack thereof issue, is…Dejan Jakovic, the mysterious Croation/Canadian by way of Red Star Belgrade we just signed to play in the center of the defense.  The backline was a mess all of last year, like a chronic wound always weakening and worrying the team.  We need a Ryan Nelsen or Eddie Pope back there.  Or at least a Bobby Boswell, version 1.0.  Maybe McTavish or Janicki will grow into that.  Or Crayton will organize the kids in front of him.  But just as our problems last season had much to do with the Gonzalos not providing what was hoped for, I think a lot of this year rides on young Dejan, the big off-season signing that no one expected and no one really knows. 

So saddle up the horses for what may be the last hurrah of Gomez and Moreno and Olsen (and Emilio?) — but keep an eye on Dejan.  He may be the difference maker.

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