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Examining D.C. United's Roster

With the MLS draft a week away, the international transfer window open and contract negotiations with current players continuing, D.C. United is set to make several roster moves before training camp begins next month -- assuming, of course, there isn't a work stoppage caused by the league's collective bargaining agreement issues.

Club officials have provided some hints about the roster make-up and already signed one international player: Salvadoran midfielder Cristian Castillo. However, they are keeping much of their discussions under wraps until final decisions are reached. Nonetheless, with a new coach in place and changes expected, today is an appropriate time to take a closer look at the club's personnel, starting with the goalies:

GOALKEEPERS
Josh Wicks: Shoulder and knee operations ended his 2009 season and will sideline him until mid-March, deep into training camp. Even if he were healthy, I don't know if DCU sees him as the long-term solution. Excellent reflexes and shot-blocking, but decision-making and temperament remain in question.

Milos Kocic: After mixed results in his rookie season, he seems, at the moment, to be too raw to seriously compete for the starting job. Some in the organization believe he has a bright future, others aren't so sure. The club must determine whether he is a capable back-up at this level.

Bill Hamid: The first signing from the club's academy system probably isn't ready for the rigors of the pro game, but the club loves the 19-year-old's potential (not to mention his 6-foot-3, 225-pound build) and will pace his development.

How do you think United should proceed? Dump Wicks, find a veteran in MLS or Europe to start, and turn to Kocic and Hamid in reserve? Explore the possibility of acquiring Steve Cronin, the second-division keeper who performed well on loan late in the year and returned to Portland? Entrust Kocic and Hamid until Wicks is healthy? As for the draft, there are no immediate starters available, such as Stefan Frei (Toronto) last year.

By Steve Goff  |  January 7, 2010; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

As mean as it sounds coming off two surgeries, I say dump Wicks and pick up Cronin. One of the other two can be a capable backup I'm sure. That way you wouldn't be picking up any extra salary in the goalkeeper position, since I'm assuming Wicks and Cronin would have similar pay.

Posted by: PEddy | January 7, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

neither wicks or kocic are the answer - dump at least one of them, keep the other as a backup until hamid is ready to take the backup spot.

Posted by: joe_hill | January 7, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Wicks needs to be let loose. His temper is not needed. I say get a new GK while Hamid developes.

Posted by: hardcoco | January 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Question: How do you develop your 3rd keeper without a reserve league??

Wicks would be 'eccentric' if he was better, but instead he's bat guano nuts.

Posted by: JkR- | January 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

As a Portland Timbers fan who may know a thing about the inner workings of the team. You're not going to get Cronin. He's seen as the keeper here in 2011.

Posted by: garbear801 | January 7, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm - I'd give Kocic the shot with Hamid backing him up. I don't think DC needs to occupy another slot on the roster. If you're not sold on one or two of these guys - make the decision early.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 7, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Might be too late now, but it'd be nice if Kocic and Hamid could train with teams overseas in the off-season. Since 'keepers tend to come into form later, is there a rough age when "most" 'keepers do?

Perkins didn't really hit his stride until '05, when he was 24, and Frei is the only young keeper I can think of who starts. Kocic had some great moments (amongst some clunkers) last season, I'd like to see more.

Posted by: eadc | January 7, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah garbear, just wait till we come and put 19,000 bucks on the table in the front of him, that might change his mind . . .

(This is humor. Props to you for your support of your team.)

Posted by: fallschurch1 | January 7, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"As a Portland Timbers fan who may know a thing about the inner workings of the team. You're not going to get Cronin. He's seen as the keeper here in 2011."


What, in Portland you don't get news of contracts that have been bought out in the past?

Posted by: mmathai | January 7, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

wicks's propensity to blow up is not what is needed on this team. hes always just one play away from a complete meltdown. that crap in the USOC should have been enough for the team to be done with him, especially after the Burch incident.

Posted by: VTUnited | January 7, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey I got an idea, how about we take Cronin for the season, Timbers can employ Wicks(again) for a year (Flounders fans will eat that up) and then in 2011 we can give you back Cronin, maybe by that time Hamid will be ready!?!

;)

Posted by: DadRyan | January 7, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Why not draft the Serbian kid from UIC? We could market to the Serbian community.

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Cronin is signed on a 2 year deal. He was signed with the intention of 2011 in the first place. I'm just saying that Portland isn't going to let Cronin go and I doubt DC will pay the transfer fee that Portland will want.

Also Cronin likes in here. It's close enough for his girlfriend to work her job and visit him often. Have you seen her? Would you want to be across the country from this?

www.laurakristi.com

Posted by: garbear801 | January 7, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

www.laurakristi.com

Posted by: garbear801 | January 7, 2010 1:13 PM

++++++++++++++

Right, Cronin's out...

Posted by: JkR- | January 7, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

ugh....not a bright future this year in between the posts. I think Kocic will be decent in a few years, but by then so will Hamid. But what's the point in dropping Kocic when we just drafted him last year? We need to let both of them develop.

Wicks has to go, but we need to bring in someone who is ready to start. Kocic is a decent backup, assuming he'll play in the US Open Cup games. Our defense needs help, and it will have to start with GK.

Posted by: wanker82 | January 7, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Ah? he got to go places and could go further by jumping on the DCU bandwagon...

Shes cute but how do you know its his g/f...

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | January 7, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Indeed. No way DC can compete with that.

Better yet, can't DCU offer her a job as well? Would love to see her at some matches!

Posted by: FrancoNiell | January 7, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

They should have fired Wicks after the US Open Cup.

I don't ever want to see him wear a United jersey ever again.

Posted by: TCompton | January 7, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Damn. I thought Nicky had it good with one of the Little twins.

Posted by: dsheon1 | January 7, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Wicks - Never been impressed. I thought he had one string of about 3 games in the Spring where he played out of his mind (compared to the entire rest of his career) and that earned him the starting spot and gave the team the excuse to get rid of the guy from Ghana (jeepers I'm getting old I already forgot his name).

Kocic - Wasn't all that impressed with what I saw last year but he's young. He seems very nervous on the field - like he's got happy feet.

Hamid - Who knows...

Add it all up, this team needs a veteran keeper desperately. Get somebody (maybe even an old European pro) who's wants to play two more years and let Kocic and Hamid battle it out to see who is going to be the keeper of the future.

Question - although who knows what's going to happen with the CBA, if the roster limits are the same as last year can a team really justify having three goalkeepers on the roster. If your starter is playing the majority of games and your young up and comer is playing the USOC games and maybe a friendly or two when is the other guy playing.

In today's MLS it seems like you have a top level keeper, the guy you're grooming for the future and if they both go down then you scramble to find someone else...

Posted by: QuietSide | January 7, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

According to the interwebs, they're actually married and live in Portland together...so unless she decides to commute to NY for the modeling gig (shorter than Portland - LA), he's probably out of the question.

Posted by: TassieTiger | January 7, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

THis is what makes the internet so valuable -- but where was the information about Cronin's model perfect girlfriend last season, when DCU fans were getting excited about Cronin?

Seriously though -- Cronin's comments when he came to DCU would suggest he's open to the possibility. He doesn't want to wait a year to play in MLS. Plus, there's no guarantee at Portland. Hahnemann will want to come back stateside on 2011. If Keller is in Seattle, he'll consider Portland. Also, Keller might be interested in returning to the Timbers, and the Sounders might let that happen if Hahnemann is available. If I'm in the DCU FO, I ask about getting Cronin, even on a loan.

Having said that, I don't think Wicks is the loon everyone here seems to think. The biggest concern for me is his health, and the occasional loss of focus. Put me in the camp that isn't impressed with Kocic's potential. Perhaps he has the physical capability, but I haven't seen him translate that into being a particularly good goalie. Of course, DCU players used to joke about how easy it was to beat Perkins in practice, when he first joined the team.

If Cronin isn't available, DCU should definitely be looking for other options., Perhaps Joe Cannon again -- internet rumors about a falling out with Coach Yallop might be worth weighing. Or, perhaps DCU should be looking abroad. Ideally, thr team should have someone who speaks English, but I might suggest looking south of the border. I don't know if DCU can pry away Saprissa's Keylor Navas, but he'd be at the top of my list. If they can't get Navas, perhaps they could get his national team backup, Ricardo Gonzalez Fonseca. There may be European options, but I would be surprised if there are really good ones.

Posted by: fischy | January 7, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

How are the nearby USL teams fixed for keepers? Could we loan Hamid to one of them to get him playing time?

To me, the best situation would be to find a good veteran to start, Kocic back him up and take USOC matches, and Hamid play USL2 for a season or two.

Posted by: troy6 | January 7, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"How do you think United should proceed? Dump Wicks, find a veteran in MLS or Europe to start, and turn to Kocic and Hamid in reserve?"

Bingo.

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | January 7, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | January 7, 2010 1:27 PM

go read her bio. it says it right there (And there's pics of Cronin).

Posted by: nairbsod | January 7, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Some more searching lets us know that Cronin is West Coast born and raised, went to college at Santa Clara, and has only played for WC teams (excluding the stint with us this fall). The differences from coast to coast make me think he wont opt for DC full-time when he's already slated to be the starter for an MLS team in a year's time anyway. Why make a huge change to be in MLS a year earlier if you're happy with your current situation?

Posted by: TassieTiger | January 7, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Cronin will be available (on loan) to DCU because Portland won't have a league to play in next year.

Posted by: timmy6 | January 7, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

It's very pc at the moment to applaud the academies started by MLS clubs and to act (pretend?) that they will be an important source for players in the future. Nevertheless, does giving a roster spot to a 19-year old goal keeper make any sense? Perhaps Hamid is a wunderkind and will be able to play some time soon, but the odds are that he will not be ready for prime time for 4-5 years. In the meantime, DCU officials will whine about the number of fixtures and the sparse number of players available blah blah blah. Perhaps signing another field player and keeping only two goalkeepers (and two who can compete) would make more sense.

Posted by: Jphubba | January 7, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

She looks pretty good with a gun in her hand.

Posted by: rockotodd | January 7, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Can't remember the keeper's name but what about the keeper from PR Islanders? Everytime I've seen him play he has had great games.Never understood why he wasn't in the MLS

Posted by: kevbalt | January 7, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

With a new backline and the need and emphasis on getting the defense in order, I'd bring in an experienced keeper like Hanneman or someone like that who can direct things back there and keep everyone calm. Particularly so because Wacky Wicks is not the answer, Cronin can't be had and our youngster needs some guidance.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | January 7, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

On the note about Hanhemann - He may come back in two year's time, but why would the Sounders trade Keller away at all? He'll be 42 then, yes, but he's still one of the best and most consistent keepers the US has ever produced and is a great influence on the back line? I doubt Seattle would trade Keller to Portland unless the Timbers made a ridiculous deal, and even then, wouldn't Hanhemann be subject to the allocation draft? The Sounders couldn't be sure they'd get him unless the time limit (is there one?) for allocation rights is up.

I'd say there's some quality thought behind the whole scenario, but who's to say Hanhemann doesn't just go to Vancouver in the end? It's closer to home than Portland is for him and Seattle doesn't have to trade away their prized possession. I haven't heard anything about Jay Nolly turning into an amazing 'keeper with the Whitecaps either, so he might not be up to MLS snuff next year anyway.

Posted by: TassieTiger | January 7, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The media market in DC is just a bit bigger than Portlands. Ms. Kristi would do just fine here. I say offer her a job, Cronin will follow . . he is leashed, isn't he?

Ms. Kristi was on the cover of Bass Pro Shops Catalog, awesome.

Posted by: delantero | January 7, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Get Nic Platter, he is ready and should be looked at.

Posted by: lita12 | January 7, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I think DCU should sign me. I mean, shoot, my last game in goal back in November I pitched a shut-out.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 7, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Hope Solo

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I say dump Kocic, I never saw anything great there. If necessary, reduce Wicks salary. Go after a replacement. Keep Wicks on the bench in order to teach him what he is doing wrong- he seemed best when competing with others anyway. However, another number one is needed, because Wicks is awful in one v one situations.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 7, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Here's a simple idea, just go sign or get on loan either Edwin van der Sar or Petr Čech.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 7, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

My question is why can I not see this blog post on the main Insider page, I still see the Metrostar's new coaching failure as the first post - I got here from a direct link. Weird.

Anyway, I have not liked Wicks from day one, but there is no denying he has had some very good games for United last year. I hope he grew that funky fro back out, as goofy as it might have looked, he looked better with it than without it :-)

Posted by: dcufan | January 7, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Keep Wicks - he was the starter last year. Kocic did not impress me. I don't get why everyone seems to love him. Find somebody capable of starting while Wicks recuperates and/or competing for the starting job thereafter, and then drop Kocic. Keep Hamid, obviously.

Posted by: Senor_Funk | January 7, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Re Garbear's claims about Cronin's not wanting to move because of where his fiancee is working: her website indicates that she moved to LA to be with Cronin, then when he went to Portland she moved there.
http://www.laurakristi.com/biography

So, maybe she would love the opportunity to model and do TV in a bigger market than Portland.....

Posted by: DCUSince96 | January 7, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Why not draft the Serbian kid from UIC? We could market to the Serbian community."

Isn't Kosic Serbian?

Posted by: godpere | January 7, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Dump Wicks. That temper is inexcusable.

If Hamid can play now, put him in. Else get experience. Do not pay dearly for it. I thought Cronin looked good at the end of the last season.

My inclination though is this team needs to be rebuilt around youth. Get a bunch of young players and have them gel. Not sure if young goalies can gel like other positions, but if they can, get them out there now, rather than patching with temporaries. I would rather have a rough season as we build a dynasty that will dominate for the next 4yrs, than patchwork the team with old guys who are gone and leave holes next season.

Posted by: Wiggan | January 7, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Hope Solo

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2010 2:42 PM


How did the thread not close on January 7, 2010 2:43 PM?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 7, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Can't remember the keeper's name but what about the keeper from PR Islanders? Everytime I've seen him play he has had great games.Never understood why he wasn't in the MLS

Posted by: kevbalt | January 7, 2010 2:01 PM
-------------------------------------------------------

Bill Gaudette, who was not very good when he was in MLS...which us why he wound up in PR,

Posted by: fischy | January 7, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Why not draft the Serbian kid from UIC? We could market to the Serbian community."

Isn't Kosic Serbian?

Posted by: godpere | January 7, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

=============

Exactly. So is Jakovic. And I think Namoff could pick up the language easily.

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I think DCU should sign me. I mean, shoot, my last game in goal back in November I pitched a shut-out.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop
__________________________________________
Before we sign Mr. Poop, we should make sure he's happy with the coach. We wouldn't want him driving another 'Fire the coach' bandwagon.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | January 7, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I think DCU should sign me. I mean, shoot, my last game in goal back in November I pitched a shut-out.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop
__________________________________________
Before we sign Mr. Poop, we should make sure he's happy with the coach. We wouldn't want him driving another 'Fire the coach' bandwagon.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | January 7, 2010 5:40 PM
---------------------

C'mon over his 3 years here there was plenty of evidence that showed Tommy wasn't the coach for us. Whether it some of the odd line-up choices, putting certain players in his doghouse, or trading a pretty good defender for a scrub goalie who quit a year later.

As for our new coach, I'm gonna support him 100% until he starts making bone-headed decisions too. Than I'll pull the bandwagon out of the garage, change the oil, and fire that puppy up.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 7, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

If Onalfo starts playing a 3-5-2 when it's obvious you don't have the players for that (as Tommy did in all 3 of his years here at various points) than, again, yes the bandwagon will get a tune-up.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 7, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

79 days until United's first 2010 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 7, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

fischy:

I agree about Kocic looking distinctly unimpressive. He looks farther from ready to go than I'm comfortable with. However, on the topic of Cronin, I'm on the other side of the fence. I don't think it's worth pursuing him at all, since I see him as Wicks minus the temper. They're both good shot-stoppers who made a great first impression after getting shelled. However, Wicks (several times) and Cronin (against KC in the finale) showed a total inability to judge when to stay on their line and when to come for crosses. In Cronin's case, we were very fortunate that our defenders ended up dealing with those crosses, or the crosses went over everyone. That said, dodging bullets is not a long-term strategy for success.

If Wicks is not good enough for us, neither is Cronin.

I'd like to see us go after Cannon again. As much as we've been upset the past couple years, we're much closer to being a good team than the Earthquakes are. I can't imagine Cannon is happy about the prospect of his last "prime" years being spent on a bad team in a fairly disinterested market.

Navas would be a great signing, but last I heard Jorge Vergara wanted to keep him within the Vergara network of teams (transferring him to Guadalajara or Chivas USA).

Poopy_McPoop:

Good news: Onalfo is a 442 guy, and already had a quote on United's site mentioning a back four. I don't think any version of the 352 is in the works.

***

My take on this:

Starting keeper: New guy. We have no options that are even close to acceptable (and that includes the idea of getting Cronin again).

Backup: Kocic/Wicks. Let them duke it out in camp. Wicks is the better keeper, but his temper is a big issue. One of them will hopefully step up to the next level of consistency, but realistically neither is going to make the order of magnitude jump needed to be a starter on a good team.

I will say that, when we compare these two, we shouldn't fall for the idea that Kocic is significantly younger than Wicks. Wicks is 26; Kocic is 24. Age is not a factor in this debate.

3rd string: Hamid.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 8, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse


Apologies for forgetting who you are, but as one SI poster commented last year about Wicks - "if you had to play keeper behind DCU's defense, you'd be crazy, too." Team defense, not the keeper, is what really needs to get fixed at DCU.

Posted by: rcdwriting | January 8, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

DP Troy Perkins

Posted by: diego_r | January 8, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Wicks is the guy, unless the team goes out and gets someone else. Why is his temper a problem? Did it cause DCU enough games to miss the playoffs last year? Hell no, it was overall team play that did us in. Wicks was the man for a good part of last year. Hell, I'd rather have a guy between the posts who's a little nuts. Makes opposing strikers a little hesitant.

Posted by: loosek | January 8, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Cronin is dating a woman in my office and she said that he's likely jumping ship to the Sounders

Posted by: JimJoint | January 11, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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