This morning, D.C. United announced their end-of-year roster decisions, making a variety of moves that include exercising contract options on regular starters like Andy Najar and Donovan Pines, as well as announcing that veteran attackers Yamil Asad and Yordy Reyna are among the departures.
United exercised club-held 2022 contract options for Andy Najar, Donovan Pines, Adrien Perez, Tony Alfaro, Drew Skundrich, and Kimarni Smith. While Najar, Pines, Skundrich, and Perez all battled injuries, they and Alfaro regularly appeared in games when healthy. Smith only ended up with three appearances with United, but played in 17 games (15 starts) for Loudoun United at the USL Championship level.
Club options for Jon Kempin and Felipe Martins were declined, but in its release, United says it is in talks with both on contracts for 2022. Felipe is eligible for MLS free agency, as are Frédéric Brillant and Chris Seitz. The latter pair, however, appear to no longer be in the club’s plans. Brillant, 36, had been at the club for four seasons, but saw his playing time decline in 2021 before his season was ended by an ankle injury that required surgery late in the year. Seitz, 34, started the first four games of United’s 2021 while Bill Hamid was out, but lost the job at that time to Kempin, who ended the year with nine starts when Hamid was unavailable.
Junior Moreno’s contract has also expired, with United saying it has extended a bona fide offer to him for 2022. In MLS parlance, this means that within the league, the Black-and-Red are the only club that can negotiate with Moreno at this time. United also says it is in discussions with Belgium side KV Kortrijk on a permanent transfer for defender Brendan Hines-Ike, who spent 2021 with DCU on loan.
The club has decided not to pursue permanent purchase options for Ramón Ábila (on loan in MLS from Boca Juniors) and Jovanny Bolívar (on loan from Venezuelan side Deportivo La Guaíra). Like Smith, Bolivar spent the season with Loudoun United and finished second on the team in goals (6) despite being recalled by D.C. for a portion of the MLS season.
Yamil Asad, Yordy Reyna, Joseph Mora, and Michael DeShields are all on their way out, with United’s release seeming to close the door on a return for the three veterans and the rookie DeShields. Asad appeared in 16 matches for United this year, but fell out of favor in the back half of the season, getting into just two of D.C.’s final 17 games of the season. Reyna struggled with injuries throughout his time at the club, and his expiring contract made him one of the club’s highest-paid players. Mora, meanwhile, finished with the fifth-highest minutes played total, but in terms of style of play was not the best fit for United’s attacking needs at left wingback.
DeShields, whom the club drafted 5th in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, trading picks and $125,000 in allocation money with Atlanta United for the right to do so, played 684 minutes on loan with Loudoun, but struggled with knocks throughout the year. When asked by Black and Red United, a team spokesperson told Black and Red United there were no plans to sign DeShields to a USL deal with Loudoun at this time.
The moves leave United with 22 players under contract, only four of whom are 28 or older. Leading scorer Ola Kamara is now the oldest player on the roster after turning 32 in October. The current roster is as follows:
D.C. United Roster as of 11/29/2021
|Paul Arriola||Domestic||Designated Player|
|Edison Flores||International||Designated Player|
|Erik Sorga||International||On loan with VVV Venlo|
The MLS offseason calendar begins with the half-day trade window on December 12, and Charlotte FC makes picks to fill their roster in the expansion draft on December 14.