DC United Season Preview

DC United Season Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 24, 2009
  • 2 Comments
  • 2009 Season Preview, Christian Gomez, Rodney Wallace, Season Previews

Bryan Namoff was one of the few key players re-signed this winter. (Getty Images)

Time to dive back into the season previews once more today with DC United. The Black-and-Red failed to live up to expectations last season. They got rid of nearly every player they brought in last year and even added an old face or two to the mix. Time now to see if they can get back in the playoff mix in the tough eastern conference.

2008 Record and Finish: 11-15-4, 37 pts., sixth place in eastern conference, failed to reach playoffs.

Offseason Player Movement:

Incoming:
Chris Pontius (SuperDraft)
Rodney Wallace (SuperDraft)
Andrew Jacobson (via signing from FC Lorient – France)
Christian Gomez (trade with Colorado)
Mike Graczyk (trade with Colorado)
Mamadou Danso (via waiver order?! previously with Carolina – USL1)
Mawete Ange NíSilu (via signing, most recent with FC Lausanne – Switzerland)

Outgoing:
Jeff Carroll (waived)
Gonzalo Peralta (not re-signed, returned to Union de Santa Fe)
Ryan Cordeiro (contract not renewed)
Quavas Kirk (contract not renewed)
Ibrahim Koroma (loan expired)
Craig Thompson (contract not renewed)
Marcello Gallardo (released from contract)
Ivan Guerrero (trade with Colorado)
Zach Wells (retirement)
Joe Vide (waived)

Unsigned Draft Picks:
Brandon Barklage
Milos Kocic

Additional Items:
International player slot (trade with Colorado)

Questions going into 2009:

1. Can Christian Gomez and DC regain the magic from two years ago?

The way I look at things with this squad, DC shifted focus from a year ago in terms of player movement. Last year it was all about brining in as much South American talent as the league would allow them to. This year it was sign up the core of the roster and add parts as needed. More importantly it was add Christian Gomez back to the roster.

I think with Gome back in gear with DC he will be happy once again and not only return to MVP form, he will help this club go back into playoff contention. They still have plenty of work to do but with Gomez controlling the middle of the park you can bet this offense will be tough to stop in 2009.

2. Is the defense going to be any better in 2009?

Let’s face it…the defense for DC last year was pathetic most of the year. They weren’t the worst (LA took that nod) but they were not far away from being the worst. Blame it on injuries, poor goalkeeping, lack of whatever; the defense was just not good in 2008.

Fast forward to this year and DC tossed out a few interntionals that may have slowed down the defense a bit a year ago. They signed up a few key players in the back and added one guy that I think could make a big impact as a rookie in Rodney Wallace.

Better than 2008? Possibly but for me I still feel as though they are missing an element in the back that will really put them in the playoff mix for real this year. Defense starts from up top and if Gomez can control the middle of the park like he use to in RFK Stadium then this defense shouldn’t have as much to worry about.

3. Player to watch out for…or someone to break out this season.

Clyde Simms. For me this steddy rock in the defensive side of the midfield has to be the steddy rock that we’ve seen him be this year. For DC to be better defensively this season they have to have Simms be the rock in the middle to keep the pressure off the backline. I think highly of Simms and also view him as one of the most underrated players in the league. But saying that I want to see more out of him this year. I truly believe this is his year to break out and possibly even become an All-Star candidate.

Look at the† 2009 Schedule:

I gotta say I like DC’s schedule this year. Its heavy here and there but towards the end they have a real solid chance at a good playoff push with plenty of home games in the final months of the year.

Four of the last six games of the year are at home with the two road games in very win-able stadiums for DC. They’ve seen success over the years in both Dallas and KC.

May and August are the big months. Six games in May (three home and three away) and five games in August (three away and two home) will really show where this club is at both before the All-Star break and after. If they stuggle through both months I won’t expect them to reach the playoffs.

2009 Season Outlook:

DC was one of a few clubs in the entire league to really make a lot of movement. Good thing too because the east will be tougher than it was last year when they failed to reach the playoffs. Like I said, I think their schedule sets up nicely for them in key areas of the year but that is only if they stay healthy. I think having the core of the roster back with the addition of Gomez really helps their chances this year. But getting by the Columbuses, New Englands, Chicagos and even now the Torontos in the east won’t come easy.

The playoffs seem likely for this bunch but if they don’t start off well I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see a coaching change mid-way through. If that is the case then I expect another playoff-less season in our nation’s capital.