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Brazilian to DCU

According to D.C. United GM Dave Kasper, Brazilian defender Roger will arrive in Washington late next week for a physical and to begin workouts with the MLS club. "We'll evaluate from there," Kasper said.

No contractual agreement is in place, he added, but when asked whether it was a trial or an imminent signing, Kasper said, "We've seen many of his games, including Copa Libertadores, and he looks solid."

Roger, who will turn 34 in April, was a left back most of his career but played in the middle the past 2 1/2 years for Fluminense, Kasper said. He is out of contract and has been staying fit the past few months by training informally with Gremio, the club with which he spent his first 10 seasons. Roger made one appearance for the Brazilian national team -- at the 2001 Copa America against Mexico.

Roger was quoted in the Brazilian sports newspaper Lance last night saying: "I had other possible offers which could be better financially, but I wanted to go to [the United States] with my family. I'm investing in my future and in the future of my family. I want to end my career in the United States."

Presumably, Roger's arrival would end any chance of Gonzalo Martinez returning to United.

What is your initial reaction to this news?

By Steve Goff  |  January 24, 2009; 10:16 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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The AP article on Sports Illustrated's site yesterday said Roger's had recent back problems that prevented him from training. Hopefully DC United's staff gives him a very thorough medical evaluation and the coaches take him for an extended multi-week test drive before deciding whether or not to sign this 34-year-old.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 24, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

What Joel said...

He's a bit short for a Center Back, but maybe he will impress...

Posted by: strago | January 24, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

So basically our back line would be:

Burch - Janicki - Rogers - Namoff

With McTavish slotting in and juggling Rogers to LB as necessary...

Posted by: strago | January 24, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

If he impresses I'd be open to a contract on a year to year basis.

Posted by: CHICO13 | January 24, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

34 with a back problem? sounds like another questionable player a la gashardo, the gonzalos, and neil. I hope the DCU med staff work this guy over so we do not get damaged goods...again

Posted by: jjfooty | January 24, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

For the years at Gremio, he must have played with Ronaldinho...they are both from Porto Alegre, too.

His Wiki page has him listed as a left back. Any chance he is brought in too allow Burch to move into the midfield? HA HA - the Wiki page already lists DC United as his current club.

BTW, he also has caps...looks like he featured in Brazil's 2001 Copa America squad.

Strago is right...short for center back...unless DCU envisions him as something other than a center back...but turning 34 in April, he may not have the legs for defending on the flanks.

This is curious. Also, makes me wonder if DCU stands to end up with three Brazilians. Is that the most in MLS?

Posted by: ErickSp8 | January 24, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

seems like a good addition as long as his back is ok

Posted by: Pedalada | January 24, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Nothing says a center back has to be tall to succeed. Parkhurst is of average height and he's an excellent MLS center back.

The bad back is worrisome, esp. in a player who is already 34.

That's what trial periods and medical exams are for...

Posted by: mmathai1 | January 24, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I am a bit disturbed by Kasper's waffling on whether he is already under contract or is merely a trialist. Seems to me that if a contract offer depends on his performance in camp Kasper would have said so. I have a sinking feeling that we have just repeated last year's failed strategy - sign first, evaluate later.

Posted by: b18bolo | January 24, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

My initial reaction last night was pessimistic. There's more information here that makes me hopeful.

IF his back is sound, and the team has monitored "many of his games" as Kasper is quoted above, I move slightly onto the optimistic side.

Fluminense is a big-time club in Brazil. This guy should know how to play defense, which is what we need-we have no other solid centerback on the team right now.

Posted by: Towson_Tiger | January 24, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Sure 34 is soccer old, but DCU had a "young" pairing in 2007 with Erpen and Boswell and we saw how that turned out. The real question is can Roger make Janicki and McTavish better central defenders through on-field "coaching"? If so, then he will be worthwhile -- although I hope not at Martinez's 2008 salary.

Posted by: griffin1108 | January 24, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I want to end my career in the United States."
No No No...MLS and or DC United, Stop bringing old people into this league. Why do they always have to stick into this idea. Even if they can't afford to bring best young players bring at least a decent young players starting now....

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | January 24, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Maybe this isn't United's year to make a splash. We're up against our cap and bringing in HIGH quality from overseas (too early to tell if Roger is quality or even coming for that matter) seems unlikely. With Moreno, Lucio, Olsen and Gallardo coming off the books after this year (I think), we are going to have a lot of cash to spend, presumably, and quite an opportunity.

This club has quite the geriatric vibe to it this year, especially if we add a 34 year old to our defense and the aforementioned four are roaming the pitch. You never know, though. Maybe Emilio will become miraculously motivated, Gallardo won't snap, crackle, pop, Jaime will continue to be effective during his portion of the games he plays and Olsen's ankles will hold up. Seems like a lot of maybes to me... and the potential for a lot of salary to not see much playing time.

If those old guys can't pull through, it will be an excellent opportunity for our new guys - Wallace and Pontius (I assume Adams is gone) - and Tino, Janiki, Boyzz and Doe to play together and develop , which could potentially tee us up nicely for next year if we bring in the right parts from overseas or wherever.

Overall it just feels like we are punting this year instead of going for it, which given the current circumstances, seems like the right thing to do.

I still can't wait for the season to start, though.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | January 24, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Overage international defender with back problems? Sounds like an expensive headache.

Posted by: Eugene7 | January 24, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

34 with a back problem? sounds like another questionable player a la Moreno...

...and um, bear in mind this guy got capped at left back at a time when the Brazilian national team had somebody named Roberto Carlos playing the position for most's not like Fred or Luciano Emilio ever got a sniff with the national team. Certainly seems worthwhile to give him a trial.

Posted by: teo_68 | January 24, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

For now it's Roger, Roger.

But will it soon be over, Oveur?

What is his Vector, Victor?

Posted by: stancollins | January 24, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

b18, I don't think Kasper waffled on that issue. In fact, Goff states specifically that there is "no contractual agreement in place". Kasper probably wants to sign him, but wants to make sure his back isn't going to be an issue. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's a smart move on his part.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | January 24, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

that's great and all, but wouldn't it be more beneficial if he was 20-something? we don't need one year players.

Posted by: Konoha7 | January 24, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not convinced Janicki has walked into the starting 11. He's cover, for me.

Maybe this guy is fit like Cafu? We only hope. I have no other feelings until I see him play.

Posted by: JkR- | January 24, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: realslfan | January 24, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Quote: I'm not convinced Janicki has walked into the starting 11. He's cover, for me.

Maybe this guy is fit like Cafu? We only hope. I have no other feelings until I see him play.

Posted by: JkR- | January 24, 2009 1:09 PM

JKR-Agree 100%. At this point, I hope the guy pans out in camp, cares about being a pro, is in shape. Because he's played in Brazil for Fluminense, I take it for granted he knows how to play defense.

What baffles me is how many people assume Janicki can play at this level. I don't know how they project so negatively on one player, but are so unfailingly optimistic on another. Janicki played all of 216 minutes for us last season-less than 2 and 1/2 games. Go figure!

Posted by: Towson_Tiger | January 24, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

57 days until United's first game.

Posted by: Curious99 | January 24, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

bear in mind this guy got capped at left back at a time when the Brazilian national team had somebody named Roberto Carlos playing the position for most games...

He has ONE cap against Mexico in the Copa America tournament almost nine years ago. A third rate competition for Brazil. To me that cap is meaningless. In fact a Brazilian player with only one or two caps for the Nat side are dime a dozen down there. it is a bit more impressive that he got a cap as a defender though, in a nation of strikers and attacking mids it can be a bit tougher for defenders to break trough.

Posted by: jjfooty | January 24, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

No contract has been signed yet, though it's very likely to happen. All of the reports you are reading are based on the one story out of Brazil.

According to Kasper, he'll arrive late in the week, take a physical, perhaps train in DC for one or two sessions and and then join the club in Bradenton for serious workouts. At that point, we should hear an announcement about a formal signing.

Posted by: Steve Goff | January 24, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

If he is fit to play, then it's an excellent signing. The fact is, as others have observed, DC United is an old team. The thing to keep in mind is that the older players are all in the last year of their contracts. So, it makes sense to sign someone who might be around for only a year. I'm not sure what Roger gets out of this -- why he thinks this is great for his future -- but, it makes sense for DCU. Like the Phillies in the early 80s -- built to win before they all sail off into retirement. Next year, it's a good bet that there will be no Gallardo, no Olsen, no Emilio, possibly no Fred, and maybe or maybe not Crayton.

DCU has started to retool with younger players. Wallace, Pontius, perhaps Adams, and Kocic. Add in Janicki, Doe, Quaranta and Khumalo, and you have a decent, young nucleus to build upon for a big restocking in '10. Bring in a new DP or two, and a few talented, younger internationals, and draft a midfielder or two for the future. Makes sense to me....If Roger is up to giving DCU one good year, it looks good to me. I'm guessing as a Brazilian, playing with Fluminense, he has some skills. He might give us the push out of the defense -- helping start the fluid attack the team lacked last year.

Posted by: fischy | January 24, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Roger? Really? Well if that's the route DC wants to go, the Fire will give you the rights to Wanchope for a late round draft pick and a half dozen donuts. ; - )

Posted by: PabloChicago | January 24, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

lol Curious99, I love your updates!!

Posted by: StewartDC8 | January 24, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: sitruc | January 24, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

JkR and Towson_Tiger:

Janicki is a projected starter for the following reasons:

1. He is the only actual center back on the entire roster.
2. At the end of the season, he was the only central defender we had that was not making repeated mistakes.
3. He and Burch are the only defenders we have with considerable size and strength.

To look at it another way, why wouldn't Janicki be considered a starter at this point?

Also, to nitpick a bit, Janicki played 465 minutes last year in all competitions.


It all comes down to the physical and his motivation. If his back is a legit problem, we'd be signing on for another year of trouble. There's also the chance that he's fit but thinks MLS will be a walk in the park. Again, if that's the case, we should all be alarmed. On the other hand, if his back injury is gone and he has the drive to succeed, a player with his experience at a major club could be the leader we need in the back. So, like several others, I'm withholding judgment until we know something about his fitness and his desire for success.

As for the multiple calls for young players, if you guys know of a 20-something defender that has years of Copa Libertadores and Brazilian league experience that is willing to come up here and play for what we can afford to pay him, you should be calling the DC United front office. With our current cap situation, we were virtually certain to either get an older player and hope he can still play or get a younger guy that isn't all that good (Peralta fits this category).

Complaining about this is as sensible as getting upset at the fact that we don't regularly battle Premiership teams for signings. $200K a year, in world soccer, is not much at all. The MLS players signing in Norway's 2nd division are making more than that, often with benefits like the club paying the taxes, a club-provided apartment, and a club-provided car. The fact is that signings like Juan Toja are not the norm; they're borderline miraculous.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 24, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Chest, I love you man, but I don't rate Janicki as highly as you do, based on what I saw last year.

Glad to have him on the squad, fighting for a spot. But I don't consider him a building block. For that matter, that goes for all the draft picks. They are all Nick Van Sicklen until they prove otherwise. Most of the rookies in this league aren't even useful until July of their rookie season at the earliest.

Here's hoping for exceptions...

Posted by: JkR- | January 24, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

So the consensus is that if he has a good back he'll be a good back?

And fear not about older Washington teams. Anyone remember the Over The Hill Gang?

Posted by: seahawkdad | January 24, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

First, our ability to sign a guy who's a stud (not a young guy or unknown who grows into a study this year) from overseas is limited: we're not talking MLS max salary or DP bucks. So anyone we sign will have baggage--either bad history, injuries, very old, coming off some down years.

This is a player from a big club with a solid history as a performer. The med evals will tell if his back is still an issue or not. Put it this way: I know that Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno have health issues and I want them both on my team--we just need to monitor minutes.

Second, people are assuming he's a centerback. From where I sit, we've got a couple of guys I could see playing centerback (Janicki, McTavish, Veris) but only as pure marking backs, it would be imperative to have someone back there with experience, lots of skill, a quasi sweeper of sorts. We hoped that Vanney would be that--he wasn't. Peralta showed (in between injuries and inconsistency) that other than Peralta, we had no other defensive organizer on the team. Well, maybe that's the role Roger plays--a withdrawn centerback/sweeper/organizer rather than a marking back (which is the only center role I'd want Janicki, Veris or McTavish playing).

Posted by: JoeW1 | January 24, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Brazilian veteran: yey! 34 years old: ney!

Posted by: Pete803 | January 24, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Why are we signing an 800 year old short center back looking for his last pay day? Please don't tell me Snyderatto are moonlighting as the FO of United. Yuck.

Posted by: graywolfe81 | January 24, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Why are we signing an 800 year old short center back looking for his last pay day? Please don't tell me Snyderatto are moonlighting as the FO of United. Yuck.

Posted by: graywolfe81 | January 24, 2009 6:42 PM


Sammy Baugh is, unfortunately, no longer available.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 24, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Roger? Really? We want to bring in a Brazlian and this is best one namer we can get? Why not just find the Brazilian named Bob or Phil or maybe Scott and bring him in. Do we not know that the good Brazilians have either unusual or funny "names"? The first trick in deciding if a Brazilian is good enough is to just check the name. A guy known as Roger should be disaqualified on the basis of his name alone.

Posted by: owendylan | January 24, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Kljestan with a brace with only 40' gone.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 24, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I saw Roger play many times for Gremio when I lived in Porto Alegre. He is a very good player. As long as he is healthy, he will be a great contributor.

Posted by: uac1530 | January 25, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope this is a new chapter in The Great South American Defender Search -- and not a rerun of last year's episode. If it is a rerun, the front office should have the decency to quit.

Posted by: runningcloud | January 25, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

We need better play from the center of our defence. It's been that same complaint for the past few seasons. So this is a good thing.

Course, we signed a couple guys last year who were supposed to help out in that area, and we all know how that worked out.

Here's hoping for the best ...

Posted by: Matte | January 26, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

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