D.C. United added some depth to the roster yesterday with the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. The team may have also added someone capable of competing for a starting role too with the news from the Washington Post that Brazilian forward Maicon Santos is training with the team and appears likely to receive an offer.
Santos started his MLS career in 2009 with Chivas USA, and went on to score five goals in 2010 and eight in 2011. If signed by United though, Santos will be appearing on his fourth team in three years. That’s a red flag. But he does have the skills and resumes to be a major contributor for a team that is currently incredibly thin at the forward position.
Santos made $126,000 in 2011 but after passing through both rounds of the Re-Entry Draft without being selected, he would be expected to earn less this year. He’s a player that we already identified as an option for United this offseason, and now this looks to be close to reality. At age 27, Santos is a younger and cheaper option than Joseph Ngwenya was for us last year. He’s also a better finisher (couldn’t possibly be worse than 0 goals, right?). My only concern is that Santos might fall behind Ngwenya in terms of work ethic off the ball.
Santos has had some attitude issues in years past. He’s no saint. But after being traded by Toronto FC and then benched and cut by FC Dallas, perhaps he’ll come to D.C. with a bit more humility. He’ll have to fight to make the team, and then he’ll have to fight for playing time. Entering camp with an endorsement from Dwayne De Rosario certainly won’t hurt his case.
In fact, United might be the perfect spot for Santos. On his previous teams, Santos was asked to do a lot. Too much. He’s not the type of player who can create his own chances from scratch. With DeRo or Josh Wolff setting things up behind him, with Chris Pontius beating his opponent on the left wing and Andy Najar sending crosses in from the right, Santos will just need to get in position and finish. And if he gets out of line, I’d expect Ben Olsen to put him in his place.
Every year, one MLS striker emerges from mediocrity and takes a big step forward. In 2010 it was Chris Wondolowski. In 2011 it was Dominic Oduro. Who will it be in 2012?