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D.C. United 2019 season review: Leonardo Jara

Our season review begins on the back line

MLS: New England Revolution at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Leonardo Jara is the first player up in our 2019 season review, and his status is currently up in the air. He was signed in the preseason on loan from Boca Juniors, the powerhouse Argentine club, to shore up D.C. United’s fullback corps. It was already likely that Oniel Fisher was going to be out for a long time (it ended up being the entire year) and Nick DeLeon, who deputized in that position throughout the year, was already on the way out. Also, if you have a chance to sign a starter for Boca Juniors, you would take that chance every time.

At the time, rumors in the Argentine press were that the deal was for 18 months and had a purchase option of approximately $2M (though those options are typically renegotiated at the end of the loan term). Jara had actually played with both Luciano Acosta and fellow loanee Lucas Rodriguez when all three of them were at Estudiantes.

He jumped into the starting lineup at the opening of the season and started all but four of the team’s games from March until the last day of August. In D.C.’s highly consequential home stretch of the season, he played a total of 25 minutes in the last five games of the year.

So what happened?

The first thing that sent Jara to the bench was the return to the lineup of Russell Canouse. Canouse was a key figure in D.C. United’s great end of the season last year, and after battling injuries all year he was finally healthy. With Felipe and Junior Moreno locked in at central midfield, there was no room for Canouse at his regular position.

Simultaneously, Jara’s defensive contributions had been sagging over the course of the year. He wasn’t brought in as a lock-down defender, but as a fullback who could contribute offensively, but from June on he only had one assist, which is particularly poor considering how liberal the league is with awarding assists. That coincided with United winning just three games in three months over the summer, and so Ben Olsen concluded that a change was necessary.

All of the rumors make it seem likely that Jara is already on his way out, but it is time to call the question for the first time this year:


Do you want Leo Jara back for the 2020 season?

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