Per Behind the Badge and Soccer Insider, United has made some moves within the squad in preseason camp. TwoBoys Gumede and Ray Burse are on the way out, while Shintaro Harada of Crystal Palace Baltimore and former University of Kentucky center back Barry Rice will join DC's camp now that it has returned to the District.
While Gumede and Burse are definitely not being offered contracts, Honduran center back Quiarol Arzu has returned to his club, Platense, while Curt Onalfo and the coaching staff evaluate whether to offer him a deal. Goff seems skeptical about the likelihood of an offer being tendered, and I would tend to agree. If DC is truly interested, they'd have drafted up a deal and started some kind of negotiation with Platense.
For a more in-depth look at the new guys in camp, follow me beyond the jump.
Taking a look at the new faces, Rice had been reported as a likely trialist just after the draft. He famously (if you can be famous for anything that is only discussed among college soccer diehards and MLS draft know-it-alls) won so many headers that Kentucky began keeping a specific stat ("contested Barry Rice headers won/lost"). Rice ended his senior season having won 87% of the headers he went up for, which is made even more impressive when you note that Rice is only 5'11".
Harada got his professional start with Yokohama F Marinos, who in spite of being oddly named are longtime residents at the top of the Japanese soccer pyramid (going back well before the J-League was founded). After this promising beginning, he bounced around Japan's second and third divisions before coming to the US to play for Crystal Palace Baltimore. He's a pretty versatile guy, capable of playing as a center back as well as throughout midfield (hat tip to Soccer Insider commenter yankiboy, since my previous knowledge of Harada consisted of him being a wide player only).
The big question, obviously, is whether these guys will stick. Rice had some buzz surrounding him despite being left out of the 2010 MLS Combine, and obviously a lot of that had to do with his aerial ability. There is the possibility that, like Troy Perkins and Bobby Boswell before him, DC has found a diamond in the rough. However, for every Perkins and Boswell, there are many more guys throughout MLS that are offered trials that go nowhere. I'm not going to pretend that I know more than I've said about Rice, so I have no idea as to whether he can hack it at this level. However, it seems apparent that the odds are long.
Harada also seems to be a less-than-likely candidate to make the squad. He did make the USL-2 All-League team in each of the last two years, and earned trials with Chicago, RSL, San Jose, and Philly, as well as a three-month trial at the original Crystal Palace of the English Championship. However, the fact that 5 clubs playing at the same level as DC have had a look at him and not made a move is a red flag. There is also the fact that Harada is just 5'8" tall. While Michael Parkhurst's success in MLS was impressive, it is also a very rare example of someone below 5'11" being able to defend a league full of large, aggressive target men. Harada may indeed be the kind of cerebral type that can think faster than his opponents and negate a clear size disadvantage, but it seems pretty odd that such gifts would be passed up by so many already. Personally, I'm skeptical of small center backs (going back to Parkhurst, I always felt he got too much credit and was mysteriously not blamed for mistakes that were his fault), so I'm not exactly betting the farm on Harada sticking.