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Countdown to soccer: 18 days - Will D.C. United need another in-season talent infusion to thrive in 2015?

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D.C. United started the 2014 season slowly until they acquired Chris Rolfe. Can the Black-and-Red set out on the right foot this year, or will 2015 bring a repeat and an early-season trade?

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Think back to early March of last year. United had started the season winless in three games, and despite generally looking better than the hellscape that was 2013, Ben Olsen's side was still missing something, particularly going forward. So they went out and brought in a headband. A Magic Headband. Well, really the player under the headband, Chris Rolfe, whose injection into the lineup brought about immediate returns. With Rolfe taking the injured Chris Pontius' spot on the left side of midfield and Davy Arnaud moving from the outside into central midfield, Los Capitalinos were better in possession and on the counter, as well as sturdier in defense. In short, Chris Rolfe was the missing piece last year (which is probably why 98% of B&RU readers voted to bring him back this season).

Coming into the 2015 season, which, for United, starts in just 18 days, the Black-and-Red look generally more set than they were last year, when there was no real established system in place. But that doesn't mean they'll come out of the gate steaming. Eddie Johnson, Luis Silva and Bill Hamid all have yet to make an appearance through three preseason games, and DC have only scored two goals. Granted, about half of each game was played with a makeshift XI of reserves and trialists, but if injuries hit this team and newly minted designated player Fabian Espindola fails to reach his personal heights of last year, we could see a team needing an injection of... something.

Alternatively, we could see things come together in the final stage of preseason in Texas, and our boys could go to Costa Rica and come home with a lead for the return leg of their ConcaChamps quarterfinal, silencing any calls for early reinforcement.

We won't know which future will play out until the season begins. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but even despite United's usual penchant for slow starts under Ben Olsen, I think it will be closer to the latter, happier one. But it's still worth asking the questions: Could Ben Olsen need another piece from somewhere in MLS this spring? Where is the hole most likely to appear, and who might we be able to bring to RFK to fill it?