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DCU Roster Update

With 11 days until MLS teams must be roster compliant, D.C. United's 24-man list is taking shape. The club is permitted to keep 20 senior players and four developmentals.

First, a quick transaction review:

Ange N'Silu, a 22-year-old forward from the Republic of Congo via France who most recently played in Switzerland, has signed a senior contract. Midfielder Joe Vide has been waived. Goalkeeper Zach Wells retired and keeper Mike Graczyk did not accompany the team to Puerto Rico and appears out of the picture. Jamaican midfielder Eric Vernan's potential trial never materialized. The club has mentioned the possibility of signing a veteran defender to replace the abrupt-exiting Roger, but no one yet and perhaps not until the summer.

So here's where things stand at the moment:
GOALKEEPERS (4)
Louis Crayton: The undisputed starter, contract expires midseason.
Milos Kocic: Rookie from Loyola (Md.) has yet to sign but is with team.
James Thorpe: Looking to return as developmental keeper.
Nic Platter: 27-year-old trialist from USL1 Minnesota.

DEFENDERS (9)
Bryan Namoff: Starting right back, signed new contract.
Devon McTavish: Starting center back, signed new contract.
Greg Janicki: Likely to start in the middle, signed to senior deal after loan.
Marc Burch: Likely to start on left, also can play in middle, signed new deal.
Rodney Wallace: First-round pick, left side, Generation Adidas.
Ryan Miller: Vying for developmental job as back-up on the right.
Mike Zaher: Vying for developmental job as third-choice left back.
Kyle Veris: 6-foot-4 center back on trial, slowed by concussion.
Mamadou Danso: Vying for developmental job as reserve center back.
MIDFIELDERS (9)
Christian Gomez: The Argentine playmaker returns.
Fred: Slated to start on the left flank.
Santino Quaranta: Slated to start on the right flank, signed new contract.
Clyde Simms: Ironman returns to defensive midfield.
Andrew Jacobson: Two-way central player with limited pro experience.
Ben Olsen: Making steady progress with ankle but not the same player.
Thabiso Khumalo: South African flank player adds speed, creativity.
Domenic Mediate: Versatile veteran recovering from concussion.
Brandon Barklage: Rookie vying for developmental slot as a flank player.
FORWARDS (5)
Luciano Emilio: Designated Player looks to regain his 2007 MVP form.
Jaime Moreno: MLS career scoring leader recovering from knee surgery.
Francis Doe: Scoring threat off the bench.
Chris Pontius: First-round pick, viewed by club as a young Pat Noonan.
Ange N'Silu: Showed well in trial.

Barring any late signings or trades.....

Senior players (17 of 20): Crayton, Namoff, Burch, McTavish, Janicki, Simms, Olsen, Gomez, Fred, Quaranta, Jacobson, Khumalo, Emilio, Moreno, Doe, Pontius, N'Silu.
Senior candidates: Kocic/Platter, Veris, Mediate.
Developmental (2 of 4): Thorpe, Wallace.
Developmental candidates: Miller, Zaher, Danso, Barklage.
UPDATE: No official confirmation, but I'm hearing Miller is set to make the roster.)

(Kocic is eligible for developmental but unlikely to sign at such a low salary.)

By Steve Goff  |  February 19, 2009; 7:05 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Friday Kickaround

Comments

Defense looks mighty thin. Everything else looks fine and I'm happy to have a central midfielder from Argentina that wants to be here.

Posted by: mason16 | February 19, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Marc Burch: ....also can play in middle....

No, really he can't.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | February 19, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm a DCU fan in Arizona - this PGC place sounds FARRR! ;)

Posted by: ZidVicious | February 19, 2009 7:02 PM
=============================

I'm in So-Cal. Maybe we can car-pool to all the DCU home games when the new stadium gets built. Or atleast until Metro decides to build a Turquoise Line that extends out by us.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 19, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

So, which new name player is bound to make an impact on the club?
New faces include, N'Silu, Danso, Veris, Wallace, Pontius, Jacobson, etc and all the new goalies.
History has shown that there is a good chance that a new player will emerge from the trialists/locals to contribute significantly and make the most of chance, e.g. Boswell, Perkins, etc. (who am I missing?)

Posted by: redskinsux | February 19, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Great timing Steve, our cable went out last Thursday and when we got it fired back up on Monday, the old computer went teets up...
Grumble,grumble,grumble...
This post is just what the doctor ordered, but I'd still love it if anyone could enlighten me on what I missed in the last week....
I did check in a bit, but it's just not the same unless I'm half nude in my Ben Olsen Jersey, sippin' a cold one, and working on my Phelpisian approved training tactics...
What's the deal wit' futty?

Posted by: DadRyan | February 19, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Sad to read but I guess reality affects everyone:

"Ben Olsen: Making steady progress with ankle but not the same player."

Posted by: JustinWilt | February 19, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

DCU owns Switzerland! No one else in MLS is scouting there!

Posted by: Reignking | February 19, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

DadRyan: the team has been renamed PG United

Posted by: Reignking | February 19, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

reskinsux:

My money is on pontius and jacobson to contribute the most this season and to prove solid acquisitions over the next couple years.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | February 19, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Ive confirmed that Bill Hamid is a u20 usa international... Do you have any word if hes in the mix?

Posted by: realrap19 | February 19, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Not getting much information from training camp, but I'm pleased to hear that Emilio reported in shape for once, but I wonder about:
Jaime - "recovering from knee surgery" isn't what you want to hear about an aging forward

Ben - "Not the same player" If he's really not able to perform well enough to earn a place as a regular on the pitch, I think we need to move on (but keep him in some capacity in the front office or coaching staff). We eat his salary anyway, I think, but he could be released and give us a position to fill.

And Fred - Isn't he hampered by a knee problem?

Posted by: b18bolo | February 19, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

well, better luck next year...

Posted by: peridigm | February 19, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

what happened to cordiero? i liked the look of that lad...

Posted by: poopoobigelow | February 19, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

31 days (but who is counting?) until United's first match!

Posted by: Curious99 | February 19, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

This post is just what the doctor ordered, but I'd still love it if anyone could enlighten me on what I missed in the last week....
Posted by: DadRyan | February 19, 2009 8:00 PM
==============

We mainly had a lot of back and forth on the stadium. It went like this:

DCU will move to MD. MD blows. DCU has no choice. MD blows and sucks. DCU is bleeding money at RFK. MD still is too far from VA. It's only 15 minutes more than going to RFK. Virginians will ever go to MD. Because they can't read a map. (Screw) you!

DC considering several sites in PG County. That's insulting, it's PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY! Lighten up! (Screw) you!

Quotes: ABBA, Shakespeare, Lloyd Bensen, Blagojovich, Molly Hatchet. Wait, that wasn't Shakespeare, that was John Wilkes Booth, I knew Virginians haven't gotten over the war. Booth was quoting Shakespeare you idiot.


I came. I saw. I blogged.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 19, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

thought you were taking the day off? thanks for the update. i also would like to know what happened to futty? also, is the comment on benny not being the same from observation or from speculation?

Posted by: port13 | February 19, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Ive confirmed that Bill Hamid is a u20 usa international... Do you have any word if hes in the mix?

Posted by: realrap19 | February 19, 2009 8:23 PM
-------------------------------------------

What an odd question. It is interesting that he's in the United camp. Celtic had some interest in him last year. A quick search suggest that nothing materialized there.

He'd be a bit young to be "in the mix", but I'd be curious to know what he's being doing the last year...and why he's in the DC camp. Helping out, or are they taking a look at him?

It seems like Goff is presuming they will carry 20 senior players. Which would give Veris a spot, by default, unless they can add someone. Any chance they go with 5 developmental players? Looking at this, I can see why the FO is desperate to get some help at center back. Can't be confident with having to choose between Veris and Danso as the first choice of the bench...

Wouldn't mind having Adams to back-up on the right, also. What's up with him? Is he still looking for a place to land?

Posted by: fischy | February 19, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Futty danso is in the mix for a development deal, but needs to get in shape first from what i've heard

Posted by: BurchFan4 | February 19, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Why doesnt anyone ever talk about Mike Zaher? hes good, i definitley think he should make the squad rather then Domenica Mediate who really hasnt done anything at all..

Posted by: DCUHitMan10 | February 19, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

You folks asking about "Futty" realize that he is the Mohammed Danso that Goff lists above, right?

Posted by: fischy | February 19, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Fischy. Btw: Where have you been? Haven't seen you much lately.

Posted by: redskinsux | February 19, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Why doesnt anyone ever talk about Mike Zaher? hes good, i definitley think he should make the squad rather then Domenica Mediate who really hasnt done anything at all..

Posted by: DCUHitMan10 | February 19, 2009 10:04 PM

Nice of you to drop in Mrs. Zaher. We just love your little boy...

Posted by: vivzig | February 19, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

In goal, we have the intriguing battle between Kocic and "El Disco" Platter. Kocic probably should have locked this up by now, but the drawn out contract talks give us a shot at a guy that started in the USL-1 last year. Honestly, a 27 year old with a year of pro starting experience is more appealing to me as a backup than a promising youngster (for keepers, 27 is still pretty young). If Platter's OK with taking the senior minimum and Kocic wants $40K-50K (not to mention takes up a foreign spot), I'd imagine Kocic would be out. I wonder if we'd be allowed to sign him and loan him out to a USL squad for the full year, with them paying his salary.

With Miller apparently winning a spot in the squad, the numbers point to Zaher getting cut. I think that would be a shame, since he's pretty solid for a developmental player. However, Wallace will need to be groomed, and who carries 3 specialist left backs? Plus, there's only 1 developmental spot for Zaher, Barklage, and Danso; Danso has a huge advantage, since our CB corps is so thin.

The midfield looks good enough, provided Gomez is as fit as he was in 2007 (which, depending on who you ask, is either not at all a concern or a huge question mark). Olsen, even if he's stuck as a sub, will be a big psychological boost, as well as increasing our soccer IQ every time he gets in. Jacobson is getting singled out for praise, which is promising. Khumalo, Mediate, and possibly Pontius give us further options out wide.

As I said in the other thread, we have the potential to be strong up front. Aside from Moreno and Emilio, you'd have to expect Doe to become more consistent with another year of maturity and experience. Pontius is supposed to be legit, and N'Silu is potentially the physical target we've been after for awhile.

Overall, I like our potential in midfield, and think we should be sharp in front of goal. Our defense, however, is going to make me drink for the wrong reasons. Without improvement there (either wholly unexpected quantum leaps from who we've got, or new players), we'll be a middle of the road team during the regular season. Whether that means floating below the vanguard or barely keeping ahead of the dregs will be largely determined by what Gomez shows up, how Moreno holds up, and how the promising new guys (Pontius and Jacobson) contribute.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 19, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

OK -- I can take a hint. I'll keep my opinions to myself. Just want to correct the one thing, before someone calls me out -- Mamadou, not Mohammed.

Posted by: fischy | February 19, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the Vernan trial never materialized. I have no idea if he'd be what DC United needs but young up-and-coming recently capped CONCACAF players are worth looking into.

Wasn't Ryan Miller trying to hook up with a team in Europe or am I thinking of someone else?


Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | February 19, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I think Olsen will be groomed into a front office position, probably after this season, which I suspect will be his last. I am worried about Moreno. Yeah he can hold the ball, but I think we need more of a threat to score. Practically all his goals are off penalties. That puts a lot of burden on Emilio to finish. It would be nice to have another finisher up top.

Posted by: doh1 | February 19, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

@Chest

"In goal, we have the intriguing battle between Kocic and "El Disco" Platter. "

------------------------------

I was thinking "Oh yes, he's the great pretender"

Posted by: stancollins | February 19, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Before I go -- Chest, where do you get your info? Miller winning a spot? Jacobson getting praised? Neither development surprises me, but you seem to be breaking news...

Posted by: fischy | February 19, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Ange N'Silu....not to be cynical but the last place this guy played was like a 3rd division team in Swissland correct? This doesn't get me excited at all.

So DC is basically Deja vu all over again in that it's the 2007 team sans Perkins, Bozwell, Carroll. I wonder what happened to those last 2 DCU bench warmers.

It's stunning that the central problems that have affected DCU over that last several years still haven't been addressed:

1)No true flank player w/ pace who can actually cross
2)Weak central defense

Seems like we're in for another season of DCU moving the ball really slow up the middle and giving away goals like halloween candy.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | February 19, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

@Joel -- I believe Miller went for off-season training (in Sweden, with Halmstad). Per Goff's reporting, it was just training. No thought of earning a spot there...

Didn't I say I wasn't going to post...?

Posted by: fischy | February 19, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the cliff notes I-270...
I've now caught up with all the "shovel ready commentary", thanks OWNTF.
Anyone going down to Charleston in March for the Challenge Cup?
Anyone?

Posted by: DadRyan | February 19, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I hope people dont think olsen will last all season, im sure hell get 5 games under his belt, then moreno who is coming back from surgery, then gomez who we really havent seen much of lately, and the college players? how may times does DC keep all their drafts? just look at last season, they all got cut.

Posted by: DCUHitMan10 | February 19, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Fischy,

thanks for the Miller info. Thought I remembered something I just wasn't sure what it was.

Goff, at the bottom of his entry, says he hears unofficial reports that Miller will be signed.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | February 19, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree. He' got Namoff tendencies on the outside. I think he could start over sophomore slump Burch.

>>>>>>>
Why doesnt anyone ever talk about Mike Zaher? hes good, i definitley think he should make the squad rather then Domenica Mediate who really hasnt done anything at all..

Posted by: DCUHitMan10 | February 19, 2009 10:04 PM

Posted by: delantero | February 20, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

If Danso makes the squad -- and, he might, just by default -- it would mark a significant remaking of United's traditional look. United has always been famous for finding strong South and Central American players. If Danso makes the squad, that would be 5 African players (plus a Caribbean in Wallace), and only 4 latin players (and not one native Central American in the bunch).

Perhaps United ought to rethink how they market the team to the immigrant community. There are a lot of Africans here who might be interested in the team, especially if any of the other Africans join Crayton in the starting line-up...

Or, they ought to pull out all the stops to bring in another central defender, from south of the border.

Posted by: fischy | February 20, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Ryan Miller trying to hook up with a team in Europe or am I thinking of someone else?

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | February 19, 2009 10:59 PM
-------------------------------------------
You may be thinking of United's 2nd second round pick, Lyle Adams from Wake Forest. He's now had trials with lower division sides in Norway, Austria and Switzerland, yet failed to abtain a contract at any of them. The last confirmed blurb I saw was his release notice from FC Schaffhausen of the Swiss 2nd Division last week. There was a rumor on another site that he was headed to Denmark to try his luck, but I haven't seen anything reliable that could be confirmed.

Posted by: throwin | February 20, 2009 3:00 AM | Report abuse

My guess is the team only carries 2 keepers, and that Danso is the other cut -- we need the CB but he is raw. Mediate might be cut instead, but he played some CB last year and was effective. He's small but he's smart and steady, a better choice. Wallace should be considered both D and MF. I think Wallace sees more time as wide left midfield for the first year, so Zaher should make the team. Miller and Veris (unless concussion problem worsens) make the team. I'd like to see Barkledge make the team - midfield hustle is still needed - over a project like Danso.

Does anyone know if there is any way a player (ie. Thorpe, Danso, Barkledge etc.) can be loaned out to the USL for a year, but we retain his rights and can recall him during the year? This small roster has its uses but some kind of added depth would be comfortable.

How is Benny doing with his concussion problems? Any update?

I wish we had some TV coverage of training camp. It would be good to see some of these guys in action. Or a preseason scrimmage open to the public. Enough already. I want the season to start.

Posted by: oz4dcu | February 20, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

N'Silu is coming from a 3rd Division Swiss team (Le Mont-sur-Lausanne) not 2nd Division FC Lausanne as reported on most other sites. The bad news is it is indeed a lower division in a non-powerhouse domestic league. The good news is that he is a young player with decent size especially for a DCU forward (6'0" - 185 pounds) who was the 2nd leading scorer in his division in the first half of the 2008-2009 season (he had 12 goals) so hopefully he has some upside to his game.

Posted by: PhillyMLS | February 20, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Our defense, however, is going to make me drink for the wrong reasons. Without improvement there (either wholly unexpected quantum leaps from who we've got, or new players), we'll be a middle of the road team during the regular season."

So we'll be just like the Galaxy, in other words.

[ducks thrown shoe]

on that topic, anyone see Buddle's goal last night in the Pan Pacific? pretty nice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMvSbph7YSA

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | February 20, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

fischy:

I have no special sources at all. I just spend an unhealthy amount of time reading about DCU and try to make sense of what I see. SG said that Miller is apparently in via an update to this post, and the Jacobson stuff came from a couple things on MLSnet where Simms and Soehn both had good things to say. I admit, it's basically speculating while toeing the party line; it's not like they're going to say he sucks.

As for the influx of Africans, it looks like a positive to me if we find good players. Cameroon's run in the 1990 World Cup is still one of the big reasons I became a soccer fan over other sports, so I've always had a soft spot for African soccer in general. MLS seems to have set up a decent network in West Africa (via Patrick McCabe and Mamadou Diallo, I believe). It would be good if DC could get a leg up on the competition, like we have in South America.

dimesmakedollars:

Unfortunately, yes. Parity will ensure that, even if we do pretty well and are looking at a #4 or #5 seed, we won't be sure of getting in until the 28th game, at earliest.

Look at it this way: RSL only missed a spot in the MLS Cup last year because of some of the most bizarre misses MLS has ever seen. They were 3 points better than us. As much as it hurts to remember, last year's inadequate and disappointing DC United team had a win-and-in scenario on the last day of the season.

I do think our defense is better than last year's Galaxy, but that is not saying much at all. It's good enough that, if we can outpossess teams and restrict where their possession is, we should have hope for making a playoff impact (especially if we sign the right player in the summer window). However, I see no way we can do that often enough to be a contender for a Supporters Shield or clinching a playoff spot early. So we're stuck in the middle, where every single game will count (who says MLS mid-season games are unimportant?).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 20, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

That's smart. Keep the "utility player" Domenic Mediate, and drop Joe Vide. Looks like whoever puts together the roster also thinks Tom Soehn is the best coach ever.

*sigh*

Posted by: WalkingFumble | February 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Vide plays one position and was beaten out for the job by Jacobson. Mediate, IF he makes the team, can play a variety of roles.


Posted by: Steve Goff | February 20, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Weren't Janicki & Khumalo loaned from Pittsburgh? Did their contracts with the Riverhounds expire?

Posted by: JohnnyPolo24 | February 20, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

dcu purchased their contracts from pittsburgh months ago

Posted by: Steve Goff | February 20, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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