2016 was the year of the goalkeeper for D.C. United, as the Black-and-Red officially had five different keepers on their roster during the season. Bill Hamid’s surgery in January led to a rotating door of shot stoppers, including Charlie Horton, who joined the team at the beginning of the season, but never appeared in a game for United.
Horton officially joined United on March 3rd. He had previously spent all of his career in England, but had asked Leeds United to release him from his contract in November of 2015. Though he never actually joined the New England Revolution, United acquired Horton from the Revs for allocation money, after Horton was allocated to the Revolution upon his return to the States.
Horton never figured to be much in the plans for the Black-and-Red, even with the long term absence of Hamid. Andrew Dykstra was meant to provide the cover in goal, while second year pro Travis Worra was to be his backup. Horton, aged 21 when he joined the club, seemed destined to spend the year with United’s USL affiliate, the Richmond Kickers.
That plan changed though early on in the season, after Dykstra went down with a back injury after the first MLS game of the season, the 4-1 defeat at the LA Galaxy. Worra would start the remaining games until Hamid returned, but Horton was in the game day 18 for the next few weeks, an injury away from back stopping for United.
The goalkeeper position was thrown in further disarray for the Black-and-Red before the fifth game of the season, an away trip against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 2nd. In practice that week, Horton suffered a concussion in a training ground incident. And with three keepers injured, United signed veteran keeper Tally Hall to be Worra’s number two.
By the time Horton returned from his concussion, Worra and Hall were always going to be the favorites for playing time over Horton. With that in mind, manager Ben Olsen sent Horton down to Richmond to play for the Kickers, where he appeared in 8 league games in USL play, conceding just 7 goals.
All seemed well for Horton and his development, until he broke a finger training, and had to have surgery on the injury. The injury robbed him of any more playing time in 2016, forcing Horton to only return to practice with the Black-and-Red as their season wore down.
Horton, who turned 22 in September, appears to be in line to be United’s third keeper heading into the 2017 season. Once Hamid returned, Hall retired and became a police officer. Dykstra returned in the summer time and appeared in a handful of games for the Kickers, but on the wrong side of 30, his career with United might be over as well. And even though Horton would return as the third keeper for D.C. it is likely that he will continue to play for the Kickers, earning playing time as Hamid and Worra man the net for United.
So the question is, for the only player on our list to have never played a minute for United, do you want Charlie Horton back with the club in 2017?