With DC United's opening match less than 24 hours away, you would think that all of their roster questions would be answered by now.
Well that's just not the case!
United still has just a few more decisions to make, including who will earn the final developmental roster spot, and who will be officially placed on injured reserve so to make room on the senior roster. After the break, we'll take a look at what seems to be the final roster, at least for now.
|Troy Perkins||G||1||Last time he was our starting goalkeeper, we won two Supporters Shields|
|Josh Wicks||G||2||May open the season on IR. Possible that he might not be returning at all|
|Bill Hamid||G||-||-||After positive preseason performances, he'll begin the year as our #2 goalkeeper|
|Andrew Quinn||G||1||Signed as emergency backup. Will he remain with DC once Wicks is healthy?|
|Bryan Namoff||D||3||He'll be playing again before the end of 2010, but not yet. Another IR candidate.|
|Dejan Jakovic||D||4||1||Prediction: He'll be a strong candidate for MLS Defender of the Year|
|Juan Manuel Pena||D||5||2||This steady new addition will give Jakovic the freedom to roam the defense and midfield|
|Rodney Wallace||D/M||6||Will get his chance to be the starting left back tomorrow night|
|Julius James||D||7||3||Could start at right back, or will serve as backup at CB|
|Devon McTavish||D/M||8||Listed as questionable, which is too bad considering he would probably have started at RB|
|Marc Burch||D||9||Offseason moves have Burch falling down the depth chart while injured. Is his spot safe?|
|Carey Talley||D||10||United's 1998 draft pick returns home to provide some depth and experience at CB or RB|
|Lyle Adams||D||2||Looked good enough in preseason to develop into a future starter at RB or LB|
|Barry Rice||D||3||Rookie trialist recently signed to be more central defensive depth|
|Daniel Woolard||D||?||Competing for final developmental spot. Did not show well in preseason|
|Jordan Graye||D||?||Competing for final developmental spot. Showed pretty well in preseason|
|Clyde Simms||M||12||Reports are that he will be ready for the opener on Saturday|
|Santino Quaranta||M/F||13||Has played most of the preseason in the center, but could start on the right if Simms is healthy|
|Christian Castillo||M||14||4||This attacking left winger will need to fill that role better than Fred did in the past|
|Boyzzz Khumalo||M/F||15||5||Probably the favorite to start on the right as long as Quaranta is in the middle|
|Kurt Morsink||M||16||Did well filling in for Simms during preseason, and might start in the opener too|
|Brandon Barklage||M||17||Likely sitting not too far behind Khumalo on the depth chart for the right wing position|
|Tiyi Shipalane||M||18||His spot appears to be safe for now, despite playing a strikingly similar style to Khumalo|
|Drew Yates||M||?||Two-way central midfielder competing with Graye and Woolard for final developmental slot|
|Andy Najar||M/F||-||-||17-year old Academy product joins the full team on a roster exempt Homegrown contract|
|Chris Pontius||F/M||19||Will probably start at forward, but might be asked to help out in midfield|
|Jaime Moreno||F||20||His amazing form of late will almost certainly vault him into the starting lineup|
|Danny Allsopp||F||21||6||Another starting contender, but is more likely to be a second half sub for Moreno|
|Adam Cristman||F||22||Gives us another experienced option at forward who knows Onalfo's system well|
So DC United will be starting the 2010 season with 22 players signed to Senior roster contracts, which is 2 more than the 20 man limit. And which obviously goes against my previous prediction that we would start the season with fewer players than the maximum. Of course I didn't see the Carey Talley signing coming, so cut me some slack! This list of 22 means that two of our senior roster players will have to start the season on injured reserve. One will definitely be Marc Burch. But it will give us an early sign as to the true progress of Bryan Namoff if he is placed on injured reserve also (which would prohibit him from playing for at least 5 weeks).
Also new to me: Brandon Barklage is listed on United's website as a senior roster player (although I never saw an announcement). And Tiyi Shipalane and Rodney Wallace are simply listed as senior roster players, but NOT as international players. Nice of DC's web gurus to clear this up.
Another rumor thats occassionally come up in the Twitterverse is that Josh Wicks might not be in the team's plans going forward. I believe that Wicks would be among the most talented backup goalkeepers in MLS, and I don't think that his temper would be as much of an issue if he was only called into the games in rare situations when Perkins isn't able to go. But if the team believes that Bill Hamid will be just as reliable as Wicks, then this move would make sense, as Hamid doesn't take up a roster spot this season.
With Andrew Quinn and Barry Rice being signed to developmental contracts this week, the final developmental spot remains up for grabs between Jordan Graye, Daniel Woolard, and Drew Yates. The decision here would seem to come down to whether the team wants to bring another midfielder or another defender onto the roster. Well the team is currently carrying 10 defenders and 8 midfielders, so that might give Yates the edge. Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the names from preseason reemerge with United in the near future. With MLS set to announce a new version of the reserve division, players like Woolard, Graye, Yates, Otto Loewy, and Two-Boys Gumede may still earn lesser contracts with United to participate in reserve matches.