As the 2013 MLS season approaches, we're counting down the days to March 2 and running the proverbial rule over each player on D.C. United's roster. Today's subject: third-year homegrown defender Ethan White.
Tomorrow, there will be two weeks until D.C. United's 2013 season kicks off. But today, we look at the man in the black no. 15 shirt, Ethan White. The University of Maryland product got to College Park through the D.C. United Academy, and he was signed to a homegrown deal prior to the 2011 season. That year, injuries and a tragically thin roster led to some significant minutes for the Kensington, Md. native. Last year, White saw no time with the first team, instead relegated to the reserve squad and short stints with the USL-Pro Richmond Kickers (now officially affiliated with United). In college and through his rookie year, White was usually deployed as a center back, but last year in Richmond and through preseason this year, White has also been used as a right fullback.
All of which raises the question: Where does White fit into United's depth chart?
Assuming he sticks around the District and isn't assigned to Richmond for the season, White figures to be buried a bit on both the center back and right fullback depth charts. In the center, we know that Brandon McDonald and Dejan Jakovic are the prohibitive starters. Top left fullback Daniel Woolard figures to be the third choice in the middle, with White currently holding down the fourth spot on the list. He might drop some, though, if we sign one of the current trialists or a new face altogether.
White's chances at right fullback might be a bit brighter, though. At the moment, he appears to be behind probable starter Chris Korb and veteran Robbie Russell.
However, the 33-year-old Russell's struggles this preseason may open the door for White to step into the primary backup role on that side of the field. White figured to have a shot at the primary backup role at right fullback before yesterday's trade for James Riley, who won't just be Chris Korb's #2, but will actively compete for starter's minutes.
At any rate, United's last three preseason games may give a glimpse into Ben Olsen's thinking at the fullback position. Let us know in the comments where you see White fitting into the lineup this year.