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D.C. United Season Review: Center back Kofi Opare

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Our next Season Review piece focuses on center back Kofi Opare.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Back at the end of July, when D.C. United swapped allocation ranking spots with the LA Galaxy to acquire Kofi Opare, it looked like Dave Kasper had delivered yet another good move in 2014. United was not going to use their allocation ranking for anything, while LA was angling for Sacha Kljestan. Leveraging LA's need to make a move, United traded what in our hands was essentially nothing for a promising young center back. The fact that LA then failed in their Kljestan bid made things all the sweeter.

However, Opare ended the season having made all of his 2014 MLS league appearances for the Galaxy, for whom he made six appearances (five of which saw him start and finish the match). With Opare on the field, the Galaxy only gave up five goals in 495 minutes. Now, before you go assuming that those nice-looking stats are just a product of playing for this year's Galaxy, it's important to note that Opare never even for a moment had Omar Gonzalez as his partner in central defense. All of his appearances in central defense came alongside Leonardo, Tommy Meyer, or AJ DeLaGarza.

For United, Opare was limited to CONCACAF Champions League play. In the CCL, Opare played ever second and United - despite playing an unfamiliar lineup full of reserves - conceded just one goal (and none from open play). Opare played three games as the left-center back alongside Conor Shanosky and started once at right-center back with Steve Birnbaum as his partner. Based on his time here and with the Galaxy, he hasn't looked like he has an issue playing right or left of center.

Despite the lack of appearances, we've seen enough to know what we have in Opare: He has the size, strength and timing to win plenty of headers, and he has above average speed and lateral quickness. He's also a bit underrated in terms of his use of the ball; while he'll never draw raves as a passing defender, he's tidy and can occasionally pick out a dangerous long ball (example: locals may remember Michigan scoring on Maryland in an NCAA tournament game back in 2010 on a long ball served by Opare).

He only turned 24 in October, so there's plenty of room for him to grow. While we might not have been thrilled about starting him in a playoff game, there are plenty of mid-level MLS teams who would write his name in permanent marker on their lineup sheets right now (coughTimberscough). As I've discussed a few times on B&RU and elsewhere, having legitimate center back depth is usually part of the recipe for success in MLS.

Then again, perhaps you'd rather see someone else come in and take that role away from Opare. That's what we're doing here, after all: Giving the player in question an up-or-down vote. With that in mind: