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.
Joe Willis, the tall and lanky third round draft pick out of the University of Denver, was a surprising success story for D.C. United this season. The expectations for Willis were to be merely a step above utilizing an MLS pool goalkeeper in the rare instance in which Bill Hamid was unavailable and Steve Cronin needed a backup. What we got was much more.
What we got was a 6'-5" 25-year old goalkeeper with great reach, good composure, and a surprising shot-stopping ability. It only took one appearance from Cronin for Willis to pass him on the depth chart, which may actually say some about both players. Willis had 12 saves and gave up just four goals in 270 minutes of action. For comparison's sake, Cronin also gave up four goals, but in less than half the number of minutes.
Willis might not be a world beater. He might not even be ready to be an MLS starter, this year or next. His 1-2-0 record on the season is certainly a blemish. But at the very least, Willis gives us one less position to worry about fixing this offseason. Backup goalkeeper is not a need for us. And least not right now.