Signed as an undrafted free agent at the beginning of 2015, Travis Worra appeared on the bench of D.C. United’s 2015 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal campaign, backing up Andrew Dykstra as Bill Hamid was out because of offseason surgery. He spent a chunk of 2015 on the bench but when Dykstra became injured in a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in April, Worra came in and performed adequately. The spot duty aside, he spent most of 2015 with D.C.’s USL affiliate the Richmond Kickers, appearing in 11 games and registering 5 shutouts.
2016 started similarly, with Worra on the bench, backing up Dykstra, in CCL play vs. Queretaro, as Hamid was out to surgery. However, Dykstra underwent back surgery that forced him to miss a third of the season, which left Worra as the starter and Charlie Horton (then acquired by the team two weeks before) as the backup. Trepidation ensued.
The funny thing is, with a season of professional tutelage at Richmond and a full offseason with D.C. under his belt, Worra’s performances were more composed and confidence, and seemed to improve as the minutes sunk in. With a 3-4-4 record and 4 shutouts in 11 games, Worra did what he could to keep the team in games, even while the offense was not up to par at that time.
Now obviously, Hamid’s return to the starting post was a foregone conclusion, but Worra never relinquishing his hold on the backup position may have been the most impressive. Horton’s year was derailed due to various injuries (when he wasn’t playing in Richmond). Tally Hall, who was signed as coverage in April, never saw the field and eventually retired to a life of law enforcement in Florida. Dykstra, a presumed # 2 coming into the season, did not see another regular season start for D.C. after returning from surgery. Comparing boxcar numbers briefly, Worra’s goals against of 1.38 and save percentage of 65.4 (dragged down due to two starts which included a subpar performance against Toronto FC and a reserve-laden squad against Orlando City in the last game of the season) are roughly comparable to Dykstra’s 1.78 and 70.2 from 2015. At $53,472 base/guaranteed salary, Worra is roughly $20,000-30,000 cheaper than Dykstra’s salary and when the 2017 season starts would be 8 years younger.
Worra would seem to be in a better position at the end of 2016 than he was at the beginning, but that’s why we goat the fox: