D.C. United entered the 2010 season with a giant hole in the center of their midfield. Throughout their storied history, United had always played with a typical #10 central attacking midfielder. Always. With that position unoccupied at the start of this season, it wasn't a big surprise to many observers when the team quickly fell down towards the bottom of the standings.
United has improved since those early struggles and is currently in their best form of the season, and they have now gone one step further on their road to recovery by signing 29-year old attacking midfielder Branko Boskovic to a designated player contract.
As General Manager Dave Kasper told Soccer Insider earlier today:
"He is an honest two-way player with special attacking qualities. A very good passer, very good running with ball, excellent long-range shot and a very good finisher inside the box. He is also very dangerous on set pieces - taking them as well as he is very good in the air, he scores a lot with his head - and he is tactically very smart. So all those things we feel will help us move forward."
Boskovic is the second most capped player in the short history of Montenegro's national team, and usually served as their captain during World Cup Qualifying. He can reportedly play either central midfield, or on the left wing.
There's one thing for certain. Boskovic is a winner. He's won Cups and league titles both in Serbia-Montenegro while playing for Red Star Belgrade and now in Austria with Rapid Vienna. He got as far as the third round of the UEFA Cup in 2002. And best of all, Boskovic is already used to beating up on a team owned by Red Bull.
According to Goff, this marks the first signing of the Chad Ashton regime. Ashton scouted Boskovic while he was playing for Vienna earlier this summer.
As for the rest of the team, while D.C. will not be making any other player moves immediately, this will certainly impact the roles of many. Cristian Castillo comes most obviously to mind. It seems like just yesterday we were excited about another attacking left sided midfielder coming to town. That midfielder now looks to be not long for the roster.
I've got some other thoughts on what this will do for our starting lineup, as Boskovic will be expected to contribute immediately once he arrives on July 15th. I'm saving my thoughts for a future post, but you can feel free to post your own now.