MLS First Kick 2013 Countdown: 8 days - What about this John Thorrington guy?

Al Messerschmidt

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: Manchester United Academy product and United's Re-Entry draft selection, John Thorrington.

For all our talk about the missing pieces in D.C. United's lineup this off-season, we've said the name John Thorrington surprisingly little. The South African was acquired by the Black-and-Red during this winter's Re-Entry Draft/Mechanism/Doodad/Thing when his option was declined by the Vancouver Whitecaps. Thorrington has been capped by the USMNT, though only four times, non since 2008, and seems to be well-respected by players in MLS. He's got the defensive ability to keep the midfield solid if paired with Perry Kitchen, and he's got the attacking chops to help the offense keep from being stymied in our own half and resorting to Brandon McDonald Long Balls to Nobody In Particular (TM).

So why aren't we talking about him more with just over a week until First Kick? Some possible answers:

  • He's a retread. He came to us through the Reject Draft, the same means by which we got Joseph Ngwenya. But that's also the same roster whatsit that brought us Josh Wolff and Maicon Santos, two players who contributed at a relatively high level.
  • He's only played 89 matches in all competitions since 2005. Thorrington's career has definitely been marred by injury, and I think this is a big part of why nobody's particularly vocal about his potential contributions to United this year. He hasn't been able to stay healthy, so he hasn't put up numbers.
  • His position and his style don't really scream, "Look at me!" He's a deep-lying midfielder. He's going to dive into tackles and win the ball back. He's going to run a lot. And he's going to make the simple passes that keep United in possession. He's not going to be the guy to unlock the defense with the One Killer Pass, and he's not going to be the guy on the end of scoring moves. He's a dirty work guy.

But given all that, could he turn into an important player for los Capitalinos this year? I think there's a chance. Saragosa can be foul-happy at times, and he'll need somebody to spell him while providing the more attacking aspect of the double pivot. Thorrington might even prove superior to Saragosa, whose position in the First XI isn't written in anything more permanent than #2 pencil.

What do you think? Have an opinion on Thorrington other than "meh"?

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