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Who's a Keeper?

Unlike last year, when Troy Perkins was the No. 1 goalkeeper with marginal competition for playing time, D.C. United has a nice battle brewing at that position this spring.

On one side, there is Zach Wells, acquired from Houston for Bobby Boswell, largely a reserve during his MLS career, but who has shown promising signs during his starting opportunities.

On the other, there is Jose Carvallo, a young Peruvian with one cap who has played in major South American club competition.

So who is atop the depth chart?

"There will always be a guy who will have an edge, but you don't win the job for the season, you win the job every day," said Mark Simpson, assistant coach in charge of goalkeepers. "They are going to battle week in and week out, and we will need two goalkeepers. Say we have six games in three weeks, you are probably going to have to split them up. We want the rest of the guys to be comfortable with both of them."

Wells and Carvallo have distinctively different styles, Simpson said. Wells has "more experience. Even though he has not had a lot of games, he knows what the league is about. He's a bit bigger and a good communicator."

Carvallo is "quicker and has played in some big games. ... They are both excellent shot-stoppers and they both work hard." Carvallo's English language skills are good, not great, but he is learning English phrases to better communicate with his teammates.

Meantime, James Thorpe, the rookie from Division II champion Franklin Pierce, is returning to school in New Hampshire and won't return until his spring break next month. While he is away, the club plans to bring in another young keeper for a look (they are not prepared to release his name yet). United will then make a decision about who to retain sometime before the MLS opener.

What are your thoughts on DCU's goalkeeping situation? Will Carvallo pushing Wells for playing time (or vice versa) improve the overall quality of the keeper corps? Or would you prefer to have one very reliable, veteran goalie starting almost every match?

By Steve Goff  |  February 11, 2008; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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