Yesterday's 1-0 reserve league win over the Philadelphia Union brought some good news along with it for D.C. United fans: Emiliano Dudar and goalscorer Stephen King both went 90 minutes as they come back from injury, while Maicon Santos played his second straight full 90 in a week, indicating that the toe injury he's been fighting through for months may be fully behind him. Rookie Lance Rozeboom, who suffered a torn ACL near the end of the preseason, got his first minutes of the entire season as he continues to recover.
It also meant that the cycle of trialists - at this point, basically just guys pushing for an invite to preseason - continued. Harrisburg City Islanders forward Yann Ekra has apparently done well enough to keep his trial going for over a month, and the 21 year old Ivorian winger/forward set up the game's only goal.
Ekra isn't the only lower division player on trial, though. The spectacularly named Wellington de Jorge Estanislau Paeckart, a defensive midfielder whose current club is the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL. Pecka - he's Brazilian, so obviously a nickname had to be chosen - joined the Strikers in the latter stages of the 2011 season. After making 8 appearances last year, he grew into a regular role for 2012: 24 appearances- including 18 starts - and 1,576 minutes, good enough for seventh-best on the Strikers roster (who was #1? None other than United's own Conor Shanosky). During that time, he scored one goal and picked up just two yellow cards.
Pecka has a pretty strong resume. The 23 year old is, like Raphael Augusto, a product of a Brazilian giant's youth academy (in Pecka's case, Flamengo). He also played on the Brazilian under-18 national team back in 2006. At 5'7" and 152 lbs, however, he may be on the small side to play his preferred defensive midfield role. Still, plenty of small - or at least average-sized - players have done well in such roles: Former France/Real Madrid/Chelsea star Claude Makelele comes to mind immediately, as does Clyde Simms. If Pecka is smart, quick on his feet, and skillful with the ball, he can still be a successful MLS defensive midfielder.
This isn't the first connection between the Strikers and United. Back in January, Traffic Sports - the multinational player agency organization that owns the Strikers - had a client of theirs, Stefan Jerome, on trial here. Obviously Shanosky's successful loan is a link between the two clubs, and who can forget J.P. Rodrigues (who played for United after the Black-and-Red had so many injuries and suspensions in 2010 that MLS sanctioned a one-game loan; Rodrigues brought our squad up to 14 players for a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes)? My point: Don't be surprised if more players from Ft. Lauderdale end up getting trials in the coming weeks or in the 2013 preseason.