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D.C. United season review: Luke Mishu

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The backup fullback goes under the microscope.

Any discussion revolving around D.C. United fullback Luke Mishu should have some sort of context in which his appearances occur. Signed as an undrafted free agent at the beginning of 2015, he appeared in 2 games last season, road starts against the Portland Timbers and Chicago Fire in the midst of fixture congestion among U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League Group play. His work was largely without concern or complaint due to the small sample size involved.

This year, his appearances more than tripled (7, 5 starts, and an additional 9 starts for D.C.’s USL affiliate Richmond Kickers), but a prime reason for this was Chris Korb, ahead of him on the depth chart, was struggling to return from an ACL injury and ultimately never did, so Mishu was thrust into the role. He handled himself about as well as a 4th choice fullback could, a decent passer and defender, though in his 5 starts, the team had a 1-1-3 record.

Then, this attempted backpass happened in September against New York City FC:

Mishu appeared to have confidence issues in the time following this play though Ben Olsen continued to go with Mishu, who appeared in the team’s next 3 games, starting 1, but this was primarily due to the decision to play Nick DeLeon as right back to replace the injured Sean Franklin.

For what Mishu was initially brought in for, and what he wound up doing, to say that he would be a disappointment considering what his ceiling is to begin with would seem to be a paradox of sorts. But enough of my rabbling, now for your votes: