As D.C. United continued its scorching run of form down the stretch of the regular season, most of the focus was on the attackers. Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta got most of the attention, as they should have, but a little of that spotlight should have been shared with the improved defense.
Acquired in the offseason, center back Frederic Brillant was a starter from day one. Despite the presence of Kofi Opare waiting in the wings, Brillant started the first game at Orlando, and every game after that through July 25th, a stretch of 17 games, many of which were losses. Three games into the Wayne Rooney era, Brillant went to the bench and played just 29 total minutes in three of the next ten matches. On September 16, against some team in Jersey, he returned to the starting lineup, and didn’t miss a minute over the remaining seven games, during which United bookended five wins with draws.
Since the arrival of Rooney, DCU played 20 games, and Brillant played in ten of them. The team allowed 11 goals in games in which Brillant didn’t start, and ten in games that he started, which is essentially a wash. Individually, Brillant was second on the team in aerials won per 90 minutes with 2.9, behind Steven Birnbaum’s 4.9, and tied with Birnbaum with 6.1 clearances per match.
While Brillant’s statistical performance was fair-to-good, he will turn 34 in June, and the team should be aiming higher than fair-to-good players. At this point, United has just three rostered center backs in Birnbaum, Brillant, and Jalen Robinson, so there is little doubt that additions will be incoming. The question is whether the team sees Brillant as a starter going into 2019. Brillant made just a few pennies short of $300K in 2018, and assuming that the figure is about the same in 2019, that could be too much for the team to pay for a backup center back. All things considered, do you want to see Frederic Brillant back in black in 2019?
Do you want Frederic Brillant back in 2019?
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