Our D.C. United weekly alumni roundup starts with some very sad news about former midfielder Shawn Kuykendall, while there are also updates on Casey Townsend and Andy Najar.
Former American University, D.C. United and New York Red Bulls midfielder Shawn Kuykendall sadly died from thymus cancer on March 12 after a long and public battle. The 32-year-old spent four years with the Eagles and then made two appearances for the Black-and-Red after being selected in the fourth round of the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft. He launched the Kuykenstrong Foundation to support families affected by paediatric cancer. A memorial service will be held on Sunday in Clifton, Va.
Just under a month after being waived by D.C. United, forward Casey Townsend was snapped up by the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League on March 11. Townsend scored just once last season for the Black-and-Red in nine appearances, and also spent time with affiliates Richmond Kickers in USL PRO. The Maryland graduate also played for Chivas USA in his professional career, and joins with the Rowdies due to start their league campaign on April 4.
Belgium's Jupiler League is entering a crucial stage, and former D.C. United standout Andy Najar was once again to the fore as they beat Oosnde 4-0 at the weekend to conclude the regular season. Najar scored the second goal for Anderlecht, who sit third in the table and now go into the six-team championship playoff to decide the league champion. The Purple & White begin their campaign away to Standard Liege on March 30. It was Najar's second goal of the season.
Bobby Convey Makes New York Red Bulls Debut
Former Black-and-Red youngster Bobby Convey has been involved in both New York Red Bulls MLS games so far this season. Playing alongside former United midfielder Dax McCarty, Convey has started the Red Bulls' 4-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC and their 1-1 tie with Colorado Rapids. Against Vancouver he played the full 90 minutes, while against Colorado he played 67 minutes before being replaced by Jonathan Steele.
James Riley Makes First Appearances for Los Angeles Galaxy
Having impressed on trial during preseason, James Riley has become a starter straight away from the Los Angeles Galaxy in their first two games of the 2014 season. He played the full 90 minutes in the Galaxy's 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake, and also was on the field for the duration of their 1-0 win over Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Recent alumni Dwayne De Rosario has started his second spell with Toronto FC, and was involved in their 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders FC in their opening MLS match of the season. DeRo went 63 minutes up front alongside Jermain Defoe before being replaced by Andrew Wiedeman.
Other United alumni Justin Mapp, Troy Perkins, Nick Rimando, Danny Cruz and Brandon Barklage have all featured in the opening MLS games of the season. Barklage was also part of the San Jose Earthquakes side that drew 1-1 with Toluca in the CONCACAF Champions League, going 90 minutes in the defense.