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Burch Is Back

With the re-signing of Marc Burch today and an imminent new deal for Devon McTavish, D.C. United is continuing to put together the pieces for its 2009 backline. Greg Janicki, on loan the latter part of last season, is also under contract. However, out-of-contract Bryan Namoff is still in negotiations with the club and GM Dave Kasper told the Insider that he will know soon whether the Brothers Gonzalo -- Martinez and Peralta -- will return. Both would have to take paycuts to remain in the league.

Burch and McTavish made the senior roster minimum last season ($33,000) and were expected to receive significant raises.

Might United -- which has the No. 6 and 7 overall picks -- move up in the draft to claim Maryland's Omar Gonzalez? Or is it more likely to add experienced help from abroad? Training camp opens two weeks from today.

By Steve Goff  |  January 7, 2009; 5:48 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Long Live the King


Nice stuff. Keep it coming. I'm hoping for the best out of those young bucks. Little less of the sliding into second base tackling out of McTavish and maybe a little less uselessness in Burch's right foot and I'll be happy.
Speaking of McT. I ended up sitting next to Dane Murphy and his folks at the 0-0 draw with the Red Bulls. There was a couple seated nearby that had matching McTavish jerseys, they might have had a home and away, they were also probably old enough to be Devon's parents. Does anyone know if his mom comes to matches and spends the entire time LOUDLY armchair coaching the team? Borderline obnoxious, but who the heck would I be to talk right? Anyway, it just seemed like it could have been his folks.
Two weeks till camp starts sounds good.
Thanks Steve.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 7, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I could live without Martinez. I'm sure DCU could, too. No big fan of Peralta, either, but I feel like the writing is on the wall with respect to his return. Hopefully, he will be more consistent with his marking. His terrible play with the ball is something we'll have to endure. I'm hoping we'll see something put of Miller, giving United some depth in back.

Off-topic, but noteworthy: Thast other United -- Man. Utd., lost to Derby County in Carling Cup play.

Posted by: fischy | January 7, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me this is the year to take full advantage of the draft opportunities and if Omar Gonzalez is as good as everyone thinks he is, I would move up in the draft to get him.

Posted by: dcufan53 | January 7, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, I think I'd rather see Kevin Alston and someone else taken with those two first rounders...

Posted by: combedge | January 7, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Given last year's experience with many foreign signings I think DCU will hedge its bets some this year and try to develop some draftees. In MLS, you have to be able to blend foreign and domestic players at various price tags given the huge limitations of the salary cap. Columbus is a good example of how a DP player can make everyone on the team better. The consensus seems to be that this is a better GA class than last year but as we know from our own Quavas Kirk, another former GA player, its a crap shoot to find players that can contribute significantly right out of the college game.

Posted by: sbg1 | January 7, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

DadRyan - Very funny about McT's parents. His Mom definitely isn't one to speak up much at games. Actually see them at the games quite a bit. Was at the RBNY match and the woman you are referring to was an avid McT supporter when he was in high school. Very enthusiastic!

good to hear these contracts are being sorted!
Thanks steve.

Posted by: therealfan | January 7, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Two weeks to training camp ....

74 days to the first match!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 7, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

If Martinez is willing to re-sign for like $50K, I'd be interested. Obviously, that's not going to happen (since he was making $228K last year). I believe we'll get Peralta back at more than he's worth to an MLS team; that probably means like $120K (down from $180K). Perhaps he and Janicki can develop into a good partnership (though neither one of them has much ability on the ball, which could be something opponents exploit against us). Personally, I'd hope Kasper plays hardball and offers Peralta no more than what McTavish is going to make, but after the ringing endorsement he got at the awards banquet, that's a pipe dream.

I think sbg1 might be right about DC trying to get somewhere with young Americans. There will be foreign signings, but not at the volume of last year. However, I think we might see United trade away a draft pick or two for an established MLS player. I don't know if Gonzalez is ready to contribute right away, and with that being the case I wonder if it's that urgent to trade up for him. There are some solid, underused MLS defenders that could do us some good (example: I've been saying for a long time now that we should try to get Dasan Robinson from Chicago). If DC traded that #6 for someone like that, I would have no complaints (proven contributor vs. someone who might take a couple years, and with the ages of our top players, there should be a sense of urgency this season).

combedge brings up Kevin Alston, who went to Good Counsel. Good player, GA, and plays outside back (probably the easiest learning curve amongst MLS positions for a young player to become proficient)...there's a lot of positives there. However, if Namoff is retained, it's hard to see what we'd do with him. I suppose it would be good for Burch to get pushed for his spot, but I thought Zaher actually did well enough in the CCL last year to be a solid prospect at left back. Out of the reserves, he was the one that looked most ready to be a regular to me. I know, having a GA local product is generally a good practice, but at present I don't know if DC is the right fit for Alston or if Alston's the right fit for DC.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 7, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Now that things have shaken out a bit with the subtraction of Opara, Tracy and Grella from the draft, my take is that the top five remaining players on the board include (in this order) Zakuani, Gonzalez, Cronin, Wallace and Hall. If any of those guys slipped to the #6 spot, I would hope DC would grab one of them.

I don't think we need to trade up, though, to get quality. I would take Husidic (GA) with the 6th pick if he were available and either Alston (GA) or Yohance Marshall with #6. We simply have to come away with a defender in this draft. A versatile, creative/playmaking midfielder, and an athletic and fairly policed defender would be a great draft IMO.

It is tempting to consider packaging our 6 and 7 picks to move up or to trade one or both of them for a proven starter elsewhere in the league, but I think that given the quality of this draft, it is not far fetched to believe that we could land two young kids who won't impact our cap who could start or at least see serious minutes this year.


Posted by: JaimeSegundo | January 7, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

hopefully, hall, alston or wallace is available.

Alston would be a good pickup. Trying to see how he would fit into today's lineup is counter-productive.

Get the best player available.

I wouldn't trade up.

I wouldn't be surprised to take a flyer on a player that might not make it in Europe - Tracy/Grella. Adv. Doesn't take a roster spot while he hones his skill, coming back to MLS will lower his initial salary demands. Possibly a starter in a few years.

Posted by: fonkyou | January 7, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

therealfan: That makes sense, the lady seemed a little loud for a mom to be honest... but I do recall reading an interview where Devon mentioned a lot of local support coming to DCU games.

Thanks for the feedback.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 7, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe we could trade Rod Dyachenko to Toronto for one of their higher draft picks :-D

Posted by: dcufan | January 8, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The more I think about it, the more I lean towards someone like Husidic. We need someone that can be a playmaker, both to back up Gallardo and to build for a future without him (though I have to say, I don't see the idea of our #10 being a South American "name" ending any time soon). Currently, all we can do is use Quaranta or Fred there (with turnovers becoming a problem) or bring in Vide and go with 2 defensive midfielders. Plus, a young playmaker can learn a ton from guys like Gallardo and Moreno while they're still here, which should reduce the odds of another Dyachenko (who has never struck me as a midfielder, but rather a striker that clings to a dream of being a playmaker).

I still firmly believe we should be investigating what teams want for their underused athletic defenders, and be willing to move one of our 1st round picks if necessary. There are several players in MLS already that may even make less than 1st round picks that are ready to play immediately. Even someone as surefire as Gonzalez isn't necessarily going to be ready to start right away. I think the draft is being overhyped a touch, and even if it is as good as people claim, this team needs more help than a draft can provide.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 8, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

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