In case you missed it, Doug Hicks, D.C. United's Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications, tweeted out the following a few nights ago:
Coming on the heels of Martin's recent post giving voice to many D.C. United fans' concerns about the lack of positive news coming from the new ownership group in the first few weeks of the Major League Soccer offseason, this tweet from the club's management team gives us something to look forward to in the New Year.
So, in keeping with the spirit of the holidays when lists are expectantly made and checked twice, here's my list of the Top 5 announcements I would like to hear from D.C. United in January. Let's see your list in the comments section below.
5. A summer friendly against a major European team. D.C. United has played some top quality European sides over the last few years (Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax, Everton, Milan). Let's hope that happens again, and this year it would be great to see another true giant come into Washington, DC. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich. Any of these would make for a superb night of soccer at RFK Stadium.
4. Clarity on the immediate future of Andy Najar. Call it training, call it a trial. Say it will last until the end of December, and then let the news trickle out that it will actually include spending the winter break in Turkey. Whatever the situation is with Andy Najar and Belgium power Anderlecht (and to be fair, it is likely still in flux as negotiations probably continue), D.C. United fans want to know what's going to happen. As disappointed as we will be to lose one of the true rising young stars in MLS, the fan base is mature enough to understand the personal desires Najar may have to move to Europe, and the business aspects that say growing young talent out of the Academy and selling it at a good price at the right time makes sense. Perhaps the only really bad outcome would be to find out Najar was leaving for Belgium for little money (or not enough) in return. For the right price, however, D.C. United fans seem ready to thank Andy for his tremendous service to the team and wish him well as he departs. Then the club can get on with using the new resources such a transfer would bring to continue building the team. We just want to know if that is indeed the plan.
3. Acquisition of a central attacking midfielder. Probably the biggest stretch on this list, but I'd like to see D.C. United add a top quality #10 this offseason who can dominate the center of the field going forward; create opportunities for Dwayne De Rosario, Chris Pontius, and Nick DeLeon; contribute to the offensive production himself; and replace Branko Boskovic's set-piece talents. Probably most teams in MLS have such a player on their wish list, so actually acquiring the right player for this role is exceptionally difficult. DeRo can play this central attacking role as we've seen many times, but given his age, the team probably hopes to extend his career by pushing him up to forward and relieving him of some defensive responsibilities.
2. Acquisition of a forward. Perhaps no topic has generated more discussion on B&RU than what D.C. United should do with the forward position. From front office interviews immediately following United's playoff departure, and the coaching staff's recent trip to the region, it appears D.C. United will target a young South American player who will match D.C. United's youthful core in age, energy, and potential longevity with the team. We know Lionard Pajoy will be on the team next year, as well, but we still don't know what the team plans to do with Hamdi Salihi who remains under contract for 2013 as a Designated Player. Throw in DeRo and CP13, and D.C. United has the potential to have one of the most potent front lines in the league next year, if the yet-to-be-announced forward pans out as hoped.
1. Completion of the deal of build a new stadium in Washington, DC. This would be Cousin Eddie's gift that keeps on giving, Mr. Parker's major award, and Buddy the Elf's four main food groups (candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup) all rolled into one. A finalized stadium deal would have more long-lasting impact than any other announcement D.C. United could make.
Here's hoping for several major announcements to fire up the D.C. United fan base in January. Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Hanukkah, Happy New Years, and Happy Holidays to all!
What's on your Top 5 list of announcements you'd like to hear from D.C. United next month?