D.C. United were quite busy during this summer’s secondary transfer window, desperately trying to shake a team that was destined to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Most of their signings had a varying degrees of familiarity to United and MLS fans, but one name stuck out, as few had heard the name before. Bruno Miranda, a 19-year-old, was brought to the club in August on loan, amid a flurry of late moves by the Black-and-Red.
Miranda’s loan from Universidad de Chile lasts until the end of the 2018 season, with United retaining the right to make an offer for a permanent move during the duration of the loan. The youngster made a couple of appearances for La U, before moving stateside, and has also been capped by Bolivia three times. One of those appearances was last May, when he played a half against the USA in a warm-up friendly for the Copa Centenario.
Our Ryan Keefer was among the first to sniff out the potential of Miranda joining the club, back in the beginning of July. The rumored move wasn’t exactly the type of action that would placate a frustrated fan base, disillusioned by the lack of goals in 2017, coupled with United dropping to the bottom of the Eastern Conference by the beginning of summer. Evenso, United were looking to improve in the short-term and for the future, and getting Miranda in during the summer was a chance to give the player time to settle in the US.
But playing time for the forward and winger was sparse. Of the 12 games Miranda was with the team, he only featured in five of them, all as a substitute. Those appearances added up to just 53 minutes, hardly enough time to show off his abilities and traits on the field. Miranda also showed up slightly injured, which robbed him of some time on the training field, as well as a call-up to the Bolivian team.
United have a great tradition with Bolivian players, mainly with Marco Etcheverry and Jaime Moreno. For Miranda to join his countrymen in folklore in the nation’s capital though, there’s a couple of questions that have to be answered within the next season. Firstly, is Miranda a forward or a winger? He appears to have the abilities to play both, though his slight frame might make life tough for Miranda as a forward. And once United solidify the position, his role with the club needs to secured. Will he continue to be an option off the bench, with presumed starts on short rest? Or is he someone that is capable of pushing to be a starter?
Under Head Coach Ben Olsen, United don’t have a sterling record with loan signings from Central and South America. Rodrigo Brasesco lasted just half a season in 2011, and neither Raphael Augusto and Rafael survived the bloodbath of 2013. Marco Sanchez lasted just half a season that same year, while Jose Ortiz didn’t have much luck this year, scoring just twice before heading back to Costa Rica. Luciano Acosta’s loan and subsequent purchase in 2016 appears to be the lone outlier.
It wouldn’t be fair to use those failures as a measuring stick against Miranda, but it would appear that Olsen and his staff need to learn how to best utilize Miranda, in order to avoid a similar fate. As a youngster, there is plenty of time to still mold Miranda, but he has to be given opportunities on the field.
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