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Posted at 2:10 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

D.C. United selects Houston Dynamo forward Joseph Ngwenya in the MLS re-entry draft

By Steve Goff

D.C. United selected Houston Dynamo forward Joseph Ngwenya with the first pick in the inaugural MLS re-entry draft.

"He fills a need and is someone who we always liked," General Manager Dave Kasper said.

Although several big-name players out of contract or whose option was declined were available, such as New York's Juan Pablo Angel and Columbus's Guillermo Barros Schelotto, salary requirements deterred clubs from selecting them. Ngwenya, 29, is slated to earn about $75,000 in 2011.

He will become an attacking option for a club that set an MLS record for scoring futility last season with 21 goals. United has cut ties with veterans forwards Jaime Moreno and Danny Allsopp.

"Joe is a guy I have always thought posed big problems for defenses in our league," Coach Ben Olsen said. "He is an athletic guy that knows how to play the game."

Ngwenya, a native of Zimbabwe, helped the Dynamo win the 2007 MLS Cup at RFK Stadium, scoring the first goal in a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution. Following the season, he moved to Austria and then Turkey before rejoining Houston this year to make 12 appearances (six starts) and score once. His most productive season came in 2006 with the Columbus Crew: five goals and two assists in 20 appearances (17 starts).

Ngwenya is 6 feet 1, played at Coastal Carolina University and, as a permanent U.S. resident, exempt from the international player limit.

Only one other player was selected in this first phase of the re-entry draft: Kansas City defender Aaron Holhbein by the Crew. Next week's second stage, when teams are not locked into contract terms, should be more active. United will again have the first overall selection.

Commenting in general about the roster-building process.....

Olsen told the club's Web site: "We're not done, not by a long shot. We still have some things that we want to add, but you don't get all of those pieces in the first two weeks. We have to take advantage of each situation, and I think this re-entry draft is an opportunity to get someone we like as a staff, and we know can help us. There are other opportunities coming forward, whether it be in the SuperDraft, or the global market, we will pick up what we need."

By Steve Goff  | December 8, 2010; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United, MLS  | Tags:  D.C. United  
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Next: D.C. United roster status

Comments

Seems like a good pickup especially at $75k

Posted by: rockotodd | December 8, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The United press release says he has "scored at all three of his MLS destinations" -- they're setting the bar high, aren't they? Ah well, at least that's more than Pablo Hernandez can say.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | December 8, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Josh86 | December 8, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Seems like a good snag. I like it. (as long as he finds the back of the net!)

Posted by: nairbsod | December 8, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, he's affordable veteran depth. But we still need a leader and organizer on defense and we still need a good finisher. Ngwenya probably replaces Adam Christman on this team. It's kind of like upgrading your plastic deck chair but it's not a barcalounger for the front of the widescreen TV.

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 8, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Does DCU also get the first pick in the second part of the draft?

Posted by: no_recess | December 8, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

don't mind the pick, but doesn't he have one of the worst misses in MLS history? And will DC get his twin Serioux in the 2nd round?

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | December 8, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Don't see much progress in bringing in a faster more athletic forward with limited skills to replace slower more powerful forwards with limited skills.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 8, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Dude has a great first name.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 8, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF

Well, if you know your 1st defender will always beat a forward to long balls and that an advanced defender will always be able to recover, then there is no need to keep a 2nd defender back, is there? Which means more opponents attacking.

Posted by: teo_68 | December 8, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I like this pick-up. I'd also love to see us steal Cory Gibbs from NER in the second round. Everyone's talking about Conrad, but Gibbs is younger, faster, cheaper (I think) and as good a defender. Having him, Jakovic and James to pick from most weeks will create both good depth and good competition for playing time.

Posted by: joemybro | December 8, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Good pick up, he's athletic, has good pace, plays with a lot of fire in his belly, and can cause problems for the defense. All things desperately need by this team's strikers. The only problem is he's not a great scorer.

Posted by: emjay613 | December 8, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@ teo -- that's what I would call the Findley Fallacy.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 8, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

This is a smart move if we get a veteran CB in the 2nd round of the re-entry draft. Ngwenya is better than Chistman, and I think for the first time in years we have some pace in attack.

Posted by: grubbsbl | December 8, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

So, we are getting a 29 year old forward not good enough for the major overseas leagues in Austria and Turkey who has scored a massive total of 17 goals in 102 MLS games (and only 19 goals in the last 7 years of professional play).

They picked him one year too late. At least he is affordable.

Posted by: Section107 | December 8, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Dude has a great first name.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor

... dude ...

but seriously, how do you pronounce Ngwenya properly? Like to sort that out before discussing with the peanut gallery this evening...

Posted by: DadRyan | December 8, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow we may have found the next Jamil Walker

Posted by: Pigmansweet1 | December 8, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow we may have found the next Jamil Walker

Posted by: Pigmansweet1 | December 8, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of players of African heritage and debatable pronunciations, whatever happened to Ange N'Silu?

Posted by: carmines757 | December 8, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow we may have found the next Jamil Walker

Posted by: Pigmansweet1 | December 8, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, he's affordable veteran depth. But we still need a leader and organizer on defense and we still need a good finisher. Ngwenya probably replaces Adam Christman on this team. It's kind of like upgrading your plastic deck chair but it's not a barcalounger for the front of the widescreen TV.

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 8, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

+1

Posted by: Matte | December 8, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

En-gwen-ya.

Oh, and we'll pick up Angel next week.

Posted by: alecw81 | December 8, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

We don't pronounce anything, just type it.

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | December 8, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I think he had a sick goal two years ago that should've won goal of the year...

Posted by: Reignking | December 8, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I definitely like this better than paying $200K plus for an aging defender, particularly since we can get whichever one we want now in phase 2 at a reduced price. Still not sure who's scoring goals but one piece at a time.

Posted by: benonthehill | December 8, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Whoopi!!

Ngwenya doesn't remind me too much of Cristman but maybe I've stereotyped Cristman as someone who should play the target role and Ngwenya as a speedier forward who can come in from the flanks.

Jamil Walker (when he had healthy Achilles tendons) is the kind of player who might have helped our team with attacking speed off the bench to help our painfully slooow offense last year. Najar excepted.

Only time will tell whether Ngwenya will help DC much but I support his addition to the team.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 8, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

My post apparently disappeared but I think Ngwenya should be a good pickup. He doesn't remind of Cristman so I don't see him as a replacement for our big-headed occasional target forward.

I don't think Ngwenya is as fast as pre-injury Jamil Walker but he's got better skill and the occasional ability to finish.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 8, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting to wonder about the formation next season. Pontius should be a starter, and Quaranta kind of has to be, and we can't live with Najar off the pitch.

There's also question of how McCarty, Boskovic, and Simms fit into the midfield.

This is becoming very convoluted to my mind. Unless we get a forward who can hold his own up front, a coherent lineup is going to be difficult. It's more important to have a starting eleven that makes sense than have a rotation system.

Posted by: UnitedDemon1 | December 8, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

if cristman had ngwenya's speed, he would be an allstar.

i like this move, so long as its not intended to be the most significant addition to our group of forwards this offseason.

Posted by: VTUnited | December 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Can NOT be as bad as Allsopp, particularly at that price.

Posted by: lovinliberty | December 8, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

We don't pronounce anything, just type it.

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop

Hmmm. Hopefully that tiny handful of folks I actually attempt to talk about soccer to outside of this blog are not just a figment of my imagination... :)

Posted by: DadRyan | December 8, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

don't mind the pick, but doesn't he have one of the worst misses in MLS history?

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | December 8, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Nope Kei Kamara, and I'd say it was one of the worst misses in the sport's history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5j3203LC3k

Posted by: Josh86 | December 8, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

don't mind the pick, but doesn't he have one of the worst misses in MLS history?

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop

-----

No, you're thinking of Kei Kamara.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | December 8, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Ngwenya will be what United hoped Khumalo could be. He's fast and will stretch defenses. When he's out there, he usually has an impact, even if he doesn't score that much. If the midfield can find him with some accurate balls, he's really gonna help. Perhaps his speed will turn Hernandez into more of a playmaker, too.

As Demon points out, ti's hard to see how the pieces fit together right now. The team has a lot of players who are probably best in the midfield,m and still lacking a guy up top who can get to balls and finish with his feet or head. Najar may have to play forward, though he should probably be on the right wing. Ideally, Pontius would become the forward we hope he'll be. That would allow for a midfield 4 with Boskovic, McCarty, SImms, and Najar.

Here's a monkey wrench to consider - reportedly, GBS would accept a $325k deal. That's actually below DP level, so it wouldn't hit Chang's purse. Drafting and signing him would also allow United to keep two DP slots open, in case Chang wins Powerball or finds a sugar daddy. Although Columbus was actually a better team without him, I feel Schelotto and McCarty would make a nice midfield combo. Perhaps United could adopt the 4-3-2-1 that is all the rage in Europe?

Posted by: fischy | December 8, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Oddly, that clip is not in the highlight package DCU put on their site.

Posted by: fischy | December 8, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering if we might see more Clyde Simms as a Center Back next season. With Dax at D-Mid (he's a bit younger and faster than Clyde), it could free up Clyde to fill the hole in our D, he distributes better than either Dejan or Julius, and it avoids taking a chance on spending big money on an older guy (Conrad) or picking up an injury-prone vet (Gibbs).

Pontius Hernandez
Tino Branko Najar
Dax
Burch Simms Jakovic Zayner
Perkins/Hamid (whoever's on form)

My bet for our Opening Day lineup barring injury or miracle (Namoff's recovery, Ryan Nelson deciding to leave the EPL and come back)

Posted by: joemybro | December 8, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Here's how MLS describes the Re-Entry draft:

"Today marks the first ever Re-Entry Draft, which is being called one of the most inventive compromises in pro sports. Not much activity is anticipated in Stage 1."

HEre's how that looks to me. MLS has created a mechanism where teams no longer have to negotiate with each other to acquire rights to players that are no longer wanted by their team, or are seen as overpriced. Instead of allowing players to negotiate with other teams in a competitive process, they've create a mechanism whereby one team can secure rights at the old salary. IF hte player isn't taken, he can choose to try and negotiate a lower salary with his old team, or he can wait to be selected in Phase 2, where he still has just the one option -- to accept or reject an offer from his new team.

If this is a compromise, it's a lot like the one Obama just made, where even the 'concessions" are really just things the other side wanted all along, rather than meeting the demands of both sides.

Posted by: fischy | December 8, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know/remember how much salary space was cleared losing Allsop and Moreno?

Posted by: elopingcamel | December 8, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

@elopingcamel,

Hard to say but I'm guessing $450-$500K. But that doesn't account for modest raises for players under contract, and I seem to remember Najar renegotiated, which had to be an increase of $50K give or take.

Posted by: benonthehill | December 8, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

but seriously, how do you pronounce Ngwenya properly?
Posted by: DadRyan
==========

I think you pronounce it like Nguyen.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 8, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

but seriously, how do you pronounce Ngwenya properly?
Posted by: DadRyan

I think you pronounce it like Nguyen.
Posted by: I-270Exit1

Easy, like Olsen, you pronounce it "Joe."

Posted by: delantero | December 8, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to seeing Ngwenya in a DC United jersey. Now, how about shifting attention to a Beckham/Henry type of DP instead of another undiscovered failure.

Posted by: VerizonCenterResident | December 13, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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