D.C. United announced this morning that the Branko Boskovic will be returning to Europe and will not be with the team in 2013. As Dave Kasper revealed in an interview published by Steve Goff yesterday, the Montenegrin midfielder has been dealing with family issues and worked out a mutual termination of his contract with the team and MLS. Obviously all of us at B&RU send our thoughts and well-wishes to Boskovic and his family.
Boskovic was a regular starter during the playoffs this year, manning the central attacking midfield spot in Ben Olsen's 4-2-3-1 and scoring United's lone goal in the season-ending draw against Houston in the Eastern Conference Final second leg, his second goal of the season, and only the second MLS regular season or playoff goal he netted for the Black-and-Red in his time here in D.C.
Our now-former #8's stint at RFK will probably be classified by many as a disappointment, but I don't know that that's how most United fans will consider it. After joining the team as a Designated Player midway through the Year That Shall Not Be Named, Boskovic showed up to 2011 training camp out of shape and began the year riding the pine. All that changed - but not really - one famous Open Cup night at the Maryland Soccerplex: Brankostock. The injury again left him less than fully fit to begin the 2012 campaign, but the former Rapid Wein man found the field and had a run in late spring as a set piece magician. In another U.S. Open Cup game on the outskirts of the National Capitol Region, we witnessed the birth of the Legend of Bodkin. And of course, he authored a pass Steve Nash could only dream of to set up LEWIS NEAL and United's return to the playoffs.
Even disregarding the important role he's played for United in 2012 - and for this site over the last couple years - what will stick out about Boskovic to me is the passion he showed - even if belatedly - for D.C. United. How many players would turn down a World Cup Qualifier call-up to help their club team in a run for the playoffs? Branko did. How many players would agree to a substantial midseason pay cut to stick around what we were starting to realize had the potential to be a special team? Branko did. How many players would see out a playoff run and wait "several months" until the off-season to address his family issues halfway around the world? Branko did. I can't say I would have made all the same choices he made (particularly the last one), but in each instance, he put United ahead of himself, and that's at the forefront of how I'll remember Branko Boskovic and his term with United.
Well, that, and the "I don't know what to do with myself" euphoria he experienced after scoring his first league goal in a black kit. The video is below.
What are your thoughts on Branko's departure? How will you remember his time in the Nation's Capital? Let us hear it in the comments.