There was a strange moment in the 87th minute of DC United's loss to the Columbus Crew Saturday night. Defensive midfielder Kurt Morsink picked up a knock and headed towards the sideline. The team was down 1-0, and yet he was replaced with... Devon McTavish? A defender?
Typically a team will substitute in an attacker for a defender when they are losing late in a match. United didn't. The reason? Jaime Moreno was the only healthy offensive-minded player on the bench that night, and he'd already entered the match in the 60th minute.
This got me thinking back to July 27th. The day when United released Boyzzz Khumalo. Seems to me that Khumalo would have been a better option than McTavish to bring off the bench when the team was behind in the 87th minute.
At the time, we thought that Khumalo was being released to make room for the team to sign 18-year old prospect Junior Carreiro, an attacking midfielder and younger brother of Philadelphia Union player Fred. But Junior has not yet been signed. He really should be. He should be this week.
I've got three questions for D.C. United right now:
1. Why has Junior Carreiro not yet been signed? This season is all but over for United. It's time to look to the future and start trying to develop young talent for next year. At a league minimum salary of $40,000 pro-rated over the remaining seven games of the season, Carreiro would only cost the team $9,333 by my calculations. Let's get it done.
2. Why is Boyzzz Khumalo not on the roster? The release might have made sense at the time. It made a lot of sense actually when we were assuming that he was being cut in favor of Junior. But the team is incredibly thin behind Santino Quaranta, Andy Najar, and Chris Pontius on the wing. If one of them were to get injured (like Pontius is now), we have no options off the bench. Khumalo could have been that option.
3. Why is Juan Manual Pena still on the roster? He's unlikely to ever play another match for United. Or for any other team for that matter. We learned from Steven Goff of the Washington Post a few weeks ago that Dave Kasper offered Pena a choice between taking a paycut and remaining on the roster or facing waivers. Why not just cut him? The team needs goals. Why cut attackers when you can cut ancient reserve defenders instead?