D.C. United’s first round pick one year ago, Miguel Aguilar has spent most of his time playing either for United in secondary competitions, such as the early stages of the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League, or with United’s USL affiliate, the Richmond Kickers. He initially excited, scoring a beautiful goal in the 2015 preseason, before becoming a key sub and occasional starter down the stretch for the team. This was interspersed with a brief moment in Richmond with the Kickers, for whom he made one appearance. He is a creative winger who is not afraid to run at an opposing player, which is in line with the kind of players Ben Olsen likes on his team. After an encouraging first season, we all expected the potential for him to take a step up this season.
However, after playing in 17 games last season, Aguilar fell down the depth chart through the acquisition of players like Lamar Neagle, Patrick Nyarko, and Lloyd Sam. United had the opportunity to get proven MLS veterans and, as is their wont, they did so and it immediately paid off. Unable to push past these MLS veterans, Aguilar made only six appearances for United in MLS play this season, notching 90 minutes of game time. He spent most of the season in Richmond, but had only a mixed impact: 14 starts, over 1000 minutes, but only one goal and no assists as the Kickers sputtered down the stretch into the playoffs, from which they were quickly bounced.
Aguilar is still young, but the next season will represent a crossroads for him. He still has the talent that United identified when they drafted him in the first round, but he will need to take another step to at the very least challenge for a spot in the 18 week in and week out, with Sam and Nyarko getting another year older. On the flip side, if a player like Aguilar can’t make the 18 on a regular basis, that is probably a good sign to the quality of wingers on D.C. United’s roster and their level of play.
All of that leads to the question, do you want Miguel Aguilar back in Black and Red next year?