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D.C. United 2018 season review: Dave Kasper

A look at D.C. United’s general manager

MLS: D.C. United-Wayne Rooney Press Conference Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Kasper has long been the master of finding MLS veterans who had fallen out of favor but who could still contribute. Or finding under-valued draft picks who could contribute to an MLS team. Or swinging trades and mastering every player acquisition mechanism to pull value out of nowhere.

However, for the past year and a half, Dave Kasper has been faced with a new task: building a top tier MLS team, now with some of the resources that the best teams in the league have. It is a starkly different task than the one with which he has dealt for the past decade, and he started with a very good table setter in 2017, signing Paul Arriola, Russell Canouse, and Zoltan Stieber. So how did 2018 go?

  • Frederic Brillant: Acquired in the half day trade window last year, Brillant came from NYCFC for $75K in GAM and an international roster spot. He started down the stretch next to Steven Birnbaum, but his rating in your eyes hasn’t been as high.
  • Darren Mattocks: Acquired from the Portland Timbers for just an international roster spot, Mattocks got to double digit goals and ran the offense for the first half of the season. A definite hit.
  • Ulises Segura: A jack of all trades who helped everywhere in the midfield, and at a good price too. Had to give NYCFC $50K in GAM for his discovery rights.
  • Junior Moreno: A great partner for Russell Canouse when the team switched to a 4-2-3-1, and they could be together for years to come.
  • David Ousted: Acquired for a 2nd round pick in the SuperDraft, the Great Dane was a logical choice to replace Bill Hamid; however, he never reached quite the heights that we wanted him to, and he looks to be on the way out after Hamid’s return.
  • Oniel Fisher: A solid right back who improved before his injury at a very low price.
  • Yamil Asad: The surprise of this past offseason, Asad’s production between Atlanta and D.C. United was almost identical, and helped balance a dangerous attack. Gave $500K in GAM and TAM to Atlanta, but definitely worth it based on his production this year. Hopefully negotiations with Velez Sarsfield go well.
  • Joseph Mora: A late signing (March) but a necessary one, and he projects as the starting left back next season.
  • Dane Kelly: Depth signing from USL, and didn’t play much.

The midseason signings were driven by needs identified throughout the season, and ran the gamut from team-changing to short-term rental.

  • Wayne Rooney: The opportunities he has created off the field have been huge (and expected), but his MVP-caliber production on the field makes this an A+ signing.
  • Vytas: United sent $50K in GAM to Portland for Vytas, who had a moment where he could have grabbed a starting job if not for his own poorly timed injury.
  • Bill Hamid: Another season changing signing, as Bil Hamid did all the things that we expect Bill Hamid to do, adding points to a team that probably shouldn’t have gotten them.
  • Kevin Ellis: Another signing due to the injury crisis at fullback, but another player who likely won’t be back.

The sum total of these signings got D.C. United back into the playoffs, with a buzz around the team that has been missing for years. Kasper got all of the pieces to fit into the salary budget, and then Olsen took those pieces and ran with them. He is in the process of having another new challenge, in negotiating loan deals and purchase deals for players that had good seasons, but that will be in the reviews for next year.

This seems obvious to me, but we have to ask the question:


Do you want Dave Kasper back for the 2019 season?

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