We're now 17 days away from D.C. United's season opener in Houston, and so we're taking a look at the Black-and-Red's number 17, Conor Shanosky. The Sterling, Va. native signed a homegrown deal with United back in 2010 but has yet to make an official appearance for the first team. He spent last year on loan with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, playing in 27 games as a midfielder and defender. By all accounts, he performed very well for the NASL club, but will that experience translate to first team minutes for Shanosky in 2013? Or will he find himself in another long-term loan, this time to D.C. United's new USL Pro affiliate, the Richmond Kickers?
As much as Shanosky, a former U.S. youth international, has improved and grown into his lanky frame since signing as an 18-year-old, I don't foresee his breaking through the depth United has ahead of him in central midfield. He'll be behind Perry Kitchen, Marcelo Saragosa, John Thorrington, Lewis Neal and Lance Rozeboom for either of the two deep midfield slots, which means his chances of seeing the field in that position are pretty slim. It's unclear whether Olsen sees Shanosky as an option in central defense, but the depth at that position isn't doing the 21-year-old any favors either: Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard, Ethan White and whomever we sign between now and March 2 will likely be ahead of him at center back.
All this leads me to think that Shanosky is a prime candidate for assignment to Richmond this season. He can gain more seasoning in the midfield and grow a bit more into his frame (i.e. hit the weight room) while competing for and earning meaningful minutes for a very good USL side.
What's your take? Think Shanosky will stick around in the District this year, or will Benuski be seeing a lot of him while covering the Kickers?