Cake or Death? The curious case of Conor Shanosky

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today's subject is homegrown reserve center back Conor Shanosky.

If you were paying attention at the end of this woeful 2013 season - and you could be forgiven if you weren't - you know where I'm going to go here. D.C. United were tragically short on center backs due to injuries, poor form and more. Ben Olsen moved pulled guys back from injury before they were ready or moved fullbacks out of position to cover in the middle. All of which might have made sense if he didn't have a natural center back sitting on the bench. That player was Conor Shanosky.

Shanosky was the third homegrown signing in D.C. United history. But, aside from the two HGPs the team signed this year, he's played far fewer minutes for the first team than any of his fellow United Academy alums. In 2012, he went on loan to the NASL Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, and last year he went down to Richmond and the USL-Pro Kickers as part of their affiliation with United. Early in the year, though, with his team spiraling out of control, Ben Olsen recalled Shanosky and used him for a few games as those ahead of him on the depth chart recovered from injuries or sucking.

Late in the year, though, Shanosky couldn't get onto the field. He was generally on the substitutes' bench, but he couldn't crack the starting XI. Obviously, this led to much speculation about his future on the team. As I write, that future hasn't been decided, and - as far as we know, he remains under contract with the Black-and-Red.

So the decision falls to us, readers. Will we give Shanosky the cake of a roster spot in 2014 or the death that comes with being cut loose to the wind? Have your say in our poll and then tell us the reasoning behind your vote down in the comments.

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