Maybe this was announced earlier and I missed it, but a change to the MLS roster rules has come up today only because of Goff's latest post announcing the signing of Justin Moose to a Developmental contract, and the news that Kpene and Dyachenko are still eligible for Developmental contracts. Wait a minute... Didn't we previously count all three of them as being in competition for Senior roster slots?
Let's go back two months to a Roster Analysis post I wrote back on December 27th. Here's an excerpt:
What has not changed is the basic breakdown of 18 senior roster players and 10 developmental roster players. Straight from the MLS Roster Composition page: "Developmental players can be either domestic or international and must be 24 years of age (goalkeepers may be 25) or younger during the calendar year of competition."
This is huge news for DC United, and it completely alters all of our previous forecasts of who is in competition for what spots. What a difference a year makes! So who is definitively eligible for the Developmental roster? The easiest thing to do is just look at the team's website and everyone born in 1983 or later is technically eligible, which means Burch and McTavish could technically be relegated if they were ever to fall out of favor with the coaching staff. Jose Carvallo and Franco Niell are also technically eligible, but I doubt they would have left their home countries for Developmental contracts. So here's how we see it playing out...
18 Senior roster players:
1 Emilio, 2 Moreno, 3 Niell, 4 Gallardo, 5 Fred, 6 Olsen, 7 Simms, 8 Martinez, 9 Peralta, 10 Namoff, 11 Burch, 12 McTavish, 13 Wells, 14 Carvallo, 15 Mediate, 16 Dyachenko. With the competition for the final 2 slots now coming down to Santino Quaranta, Jamil Walker, David Blumer, and Josh Gardner (born in 1982 - I checked). I've got to think Quaranta is probably back, and Walker and Blumer will go at it for the last spot. Sounds like another potential Versus.
10 Developmental roster players:
1 J. Carroll, 2 P. Carroll, 3 Kirk, 4 Moose, 5 Owens, 6 Stratford, 7 Thorpe, 8 Cordeiro, 9 Kpene. With the competition for the final slot now coming down to Tony Schmitz, Dane Murphy and Cezar. Cezar is an unknown so we'll see what the coaches think of him, but right now I think the edge has to go to Murphy since Schmitz has apparently not been traveling with the team (still in school - what a poor excuse!)
So why do I list Dyachenko on the full roster and Kpene on the Dev roster? Others might argue with me, but I feel like Rod has done more to earn the full roster slot and the salary that comes with it. Also, he was on the full roster last year and Kpene was not, so I don't see why they would change it. And lastly, with Niell on the roster and a healthy Jamil Walker (or Blumer), we're a lot deeper at forward now than we were last year, so Kpene will likely be seeing much less playing time, and actually could be potential trade bait if they sign Cezar too.
8 International players:
Competition has definitely increased on the international front. Let's see, we've got 1 Emilio, 2 Niell, 3 Gallardo, 4 Fred, 5 Martinez, 6 Peralta, 7 Carvallo, 8 Stratford, 9... Uh oh... This is a bad sign for Cezar. All indications out of camp seem to be that Stratford has earned his way onto the roster, and may even compete with Dyachenko for playing time. The Brazilian will really have to impress to make the team. David Blumer? According to Goff he's got a US Passport so he won't count against the international quota.
Whew. The MLS Rules committee really knows how to keep us bloggers on our toes. It must be a cool job to be able to just change the rules as you go along without ever really telling anybody. But I'm sure we've all had bosses like that.