Ricardo Clark is set to return to Houston
Happy with the current squad and its current position in the MLS Eastern Conference playoff race, Ben Olsen and D.C. United elected to remain mostly steady during the international transfer window. The team added only one new player, acquiring Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto via loan. At just 21 years of age in an already crowded midfield, Augusto isn't likely to be a major contributor this season.
Should that have been United's only move though? Some don't think so. Jeremiah Oshan of SB Nation Soccer reviewed the transfer window moves of all clubs in MLS, and he listed United as a team that "Needed to do more."
D.C. United somehow only had two league games scheduled in July. That both of them ended up being losses is obviously bad, but if they win their two games in hand they'd vault back to the top of the East. It sure would have been nice, though, if their new owners had also been able to bring in an impact player or two, preferably on defense where their 1.35 goals against average is worse than all but two teams currently qualifying for the playoffs. Ending their four-year playoff drought seems inevitable, but it's also hard to imagine them making a run at the top spot in the East with basically the same team that got them to this point.
The worry is that several other Eastern Conference competitors were listed by Oshan as "Obviously improved." The Columbus Crew, who happen to be paying a visit to D.C. on Saturday, acquired Frederico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta, while the New York Red Bulls added some more big names in Sebastien Le Toux and Tim Cahill. Meanwhile, the Houston Dynamo are in the process of welcoming back Ricardo Clark to their midfield that already includes newcomer Oscar Boniak Garcia.
Why did United stand pat while the rest of the league looked to improve? We've long suspected that the team is very close to the salary cap, but we also know that Olsen and his staff are confident in the squad. In some excellent performances already this season, D.C. United has shown us what it's capable of. With a bit more consistency both in terms of production and lineup selection, this team could be great.
But will greatness even be enough in a tight Eastern Conference? Would you have liked to see United do more?