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The present and future for D.C. United's Andy Najar, and MLS's rookie of the year race

Andy Najar, who at age 17 has been D.C. United's best player this year, might be headed for Europe this offseason for two to three weeks of informal training with a big club. My story about Najar's sensational debut season and what the future holds, including the U.S.-Honduras dilemma, will appear in Saturday's print editions. But you can read it here right this very moment.

Where does Najar stand in the MLS rookie of the year race? If statistics were the only consideration, the trophy would go to Philadelphia Union forward Danny Mwanga, the first overall draft pick who has seven goals and four assists. If contribution to a championship contender was the primary factor, New York Red Bulls central defender Tim Ream, who has played every minute, would be at the top of the list.

Others to consider: Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens (18 starts, seven assists), San Jose Earthquakes defender Ike Opara (three goals before foot fracture), New York midfielder Tony Tchani (14 starts), Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson (11 starts, 0.78 goals-against average), New England Revolution forward Zack Schilawski (five goals) and Kansas City Wizards forward Teal Bunbury (four goals).

Vote in our poll:

By Steve Goff  | October 1, 2010; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United, MLS  | Tags:  D.C. United, MLS  
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Next: Saturday kickaround: Dempsey scores, MLS referee review, D.C. United at Colorado, USA women vs. China, Palace loss, NCAA roundup


Buncha homers voting so far . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | October 1, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Excellent piece on Najar, Mr. Goff.

@lgm: surprised Kasper didn't properly gauge Najar's abilities?

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | October 1, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I'd say either Mwanga or Najar are both worthy winners who would deserve the award, but I clicked Mwanga.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | October 1, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Don't Ream me, butt I chose Tim.

Posted by: Reignking | October 1, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Manchester City, English football's biggest-spending club, posted a loss of £121 million ($191.5 million) in the financial year finishing on May 31, 2010.

The club's earnings of $197m were exceeded by their wages alone, which amounted to $210m.

The loss is the second highest in Premier League history, dwarfed only by the £141m lost by Chelsea in 2004-05, the end of the first full year following the takeover by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Posted by: Reignking | October 1, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF: What did you expect? It's not like MLS is nationally televised sport where local fans get a chance to see other teams. Like you have in the NFL or even NBA (with TNT showing national games). So why should I vote for anyone other than Najar when I haven't seen them play?

Posted by: tundey | October 1, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Tundey-- ESPN2? Fox Soccer Channel? Or are you being ironical?

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | October 1, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: BlackAndRed337 | October 1, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I dunno Tundey, I've seen Ream play a lot on TV and I voted for him. I'm a huge fan of Najar, I just think Ream plays a more important role in his team than Najar does, and is better at his position right now. Najar still makes a lot of mental mistakes out of inexperience, and in United's case, no big deal, we suck anyway.

But if Ream made similar mistakes it would lose games for NYRB (right, Mister Graye?) And when I've watched, Ream's been rock solid. Dude is straight good. One of things where you say -- how do they get Lindpere and we get squadoosh? How do they get Ream and we get squadoosh? Ditto for Columbus and RSL. But now I'm heading down a different path . . . chasing lgm . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | October 1, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Actually, to answer my question . . . the draft choices United could have used on Tim Ream went for . . . (drum roll please) . . . Troy Perkins and Christian Gomez!


Posted by: OWNTF | October 1, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Najar since he's 17!!!! Ream was expected to be a starter since he's played 5 years more than Andy through college. Najar is the kind of player the league needs to develop. There will always be solid defenders coming through the college ranks.

Posted by: DCUinCT | October 1, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Goff.

Nice piece on Najar . . . who I also picked for ROY. Why? [In case anyone cares]

1. Complete package. (He's not a one or two trick pony).
2. Age. (I believe he's the youngest).
3. Has done more with, at best, "mediocre" team support.
4. Style. (He's more enjoyable and exciting to watch).

Posted by: edmundburke247 | October 1, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

what DCUinCT said...

Posted by: DadRyan | October 1, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

There will always be solid defenders coming through the college ranks.

Posted by: DCUinCT | October 1, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Great! Please send some to DC.

Posted by: OWNTF | October 1, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry but no way is Najar going to win ROY. DC United simply sucks too much. A rising tide lifts all boats, but a sinking ship, well you get the picture.

Actually I think it's better he not win it. He can stay under the radar a little longer and continue his development. As someone else said he's got all the tools and lots of style to go with them. But he still makes mental mistakes and has much to learn.

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | October 1, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

If you like stories such as these, be sure to so indicate in the comments section there as well as here.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 1, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Najar because I am an unabashed homer. Besides, this is a unscientific and meaningless Washington Post poll (not that I don't enjoy them Steve)).

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 1, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Sven Goran Eriksson is back in English football after agreeing to replace Paulo Sousa at Leicester City.

In a remarkable move by the Championship's bottom club, Sousa was sacked on Friday after just nine league games in charge.

Chief executive Lee Hoos then held talks in London with former England coach Eriksson to formalise a two-year deal. The decision has provoked scathing criticism from the League Managers' Association.

Posted by: Reignking | October 1, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Najar has been nothing short of spectacular with little to no help his first year out of a development academy.

Mwanga has benefited by being the chief target for his team, and as impressive as Ream has been, he'll be even better in a few years.

If he isn't, wouldn't make sense to me.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | October 1, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I didn't vote for Opara, but I did read a couple of books he recommended.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | October 1, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I give Sven six months, tops, at Leicester City. The man can't hold a job.

Buen fin de semana amigos.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 1, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

OWNTF proves his discernment not only through appreciation of the beauty of the women's game but also for his appreciation of the underappreciated art of defense. +1.

Posted by: dccal | October 1, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

@DCUinCT "Ream was expected to be a starter since he's played 5 years more than Andy through college."

Uh... no. He certainly wasn't expected to be a starter. He was 2nd team All-Conference in the A-10. Every mock draft I saw had him late 3rd/4th round at best, and some didn't rate him at all.

Backe loved his coolness on the ball and passing skills from the back, and took him in the 2nd. And Ream has been excellent. I've even heard rumors from credible people that he's being scouted by Bundesliga teams.

It's not "best first year player who didn't go to college", it's "rookie of the year." I love Najar, and I support NY, but I'm not being a homer when I say Ream has earned the award.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | October 1, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Nice crowd at the MD-Duke game. Luckily, my son can't hear the "F*** Duke" chants clearly on TV. Duke is getting better looks at goal.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 1, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Of course, after I click "submit," MD gets a header (over the bar) and then converts a PK.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 1, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

To I-270Exit1:
What's the link for MD-Duke?

Posted by: NaptownDCU | October 1, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

MD 2 - Duke 0 MD free kick blocked by Duke GK. Craptastic marking allows MD to put in the rebound.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 1, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching on FSC.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 1, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Virginia loses a tight one at home to UNC 1-0. Phantom corner given to the Blue Devils, which they promptly convert into the upper near post corner. Them's the breaks...

Posted by: carmines757 | October 1, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I hate to sound like one of those anti-immigrant people, but when is he going to start speaking English?

Posted by: fedssocr | October 1, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Sven should have held out for the Liverpool position. :-)

Posted by: glfrazier | October 1, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Two things:

1) How can anyone who even remotely associates themselves with DC United vote for Ream? Messi could be playing for them as a rookie and it wouldn't matter.

2) Nothing like a mention of the Red Pukes to bring out Mastodon

Posted by: rockotodd | October 1, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

the draft choices United could have used on Tim Ream went for...(drum roll please)... Troy Perkins and Christian Gomez!


Posted by: OWNTF

Hmmmm...not sure what is so funny.. And you voted for an effin' MetroCow? (maybe you didn't notice this is an internet poll on a DC-based blog. Reality does not come in to play.)

Maybe the team you should be following is playing in Energy Drink Arena.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | October 2, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

The Terp fans were yelling "Duke sucks!"

Posted by: Juan-John1 | October 2, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification. Since they are semi-sober, semi-adults at an intra-ACC game, I assumed the worst.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 2, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Fulham have an all-American front line today, and Dempsey has scored.

Posted by: glfrazier | October 2, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

And, of course, Spector is not in West Ham's 18.

Posted by: glfrazier | October 2, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

It's gotta go to Tim Ream. Danny Mwanga is also a top candidate and Opara would be in the running had he not gone down with an injury.

More thoughts and some playoff chatter here:

Posted by: CubicleCoaches | October 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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