We're spending the first month or so of the D.C. United offseason grading each player on the roster with an approval rating. A vote for APPROVE means you were satisfied with the player's performance and want to see him back in D.C. next season. A vote for DISAPPROVE means you want United to move on without him. There is no middle ground, so please leave salary and contract implications out of your decision.
When he arrived in D.C. in a trade with the Portland Timbers for Troy Perkins, we expected Steve Cronin to compete with Bill Hamid for the starting goalkeeper position. At the very least, we expected Cronin to fill in for Hamid since the young homegrown goalkeeper was entering training camp less than 100% in the process of recovering from offseason surgery.
Cronin injured his wrist during camp, forcing assistant coach Pat Onstad out of retirement. And then when Cronin was finally ready for action, he found himself a significant step behind Hamid on the depth chart. And then when Cronin got his first real action of the season, coming on in relief of a red-carded Hamid against Toronto FC at RFK Stadium, Cronin gave up three goals and dropped another step down the depth chart. Rookie third round draft pick Joe Willis took over as the No. 2 goalkeeper, and never looked back.
Cronin's three goals allowed in that match against Toronto all could have been avoided. The first came when he punched a cross into his own defender Brandon McDonald. The second was well-struck, but also could have been within reach. The third saw Cronin fail to collect a ball that was bouncing around just in front of him before it wound up in the back of the net.
Cronin also came on for an injured Hamid at halftime on the road against the Chicago Fire and allowed another goal, and he would finish the season with as many saves (four) as goals allowed. Its possible that Cronin's best contribution to D.C. United was that he helped relieve the team of Perkins.