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D.C. United season review: Julian Buescher

Will Buescher play for United again next year?

It seems like an eternity ago, but back in March of 2016, Julian Buescher smashed this goal against Queretaro FC, the only goal D.C. United would score as they lost out in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Days before, Buescher had made his professional debut by coming off the bench in Mexico, before scoring that goal in the second leg. After a solid, yet unspectacular rest of his rookie season, in which he played 20 league games, scoring once and assisting on four other goals, Buescher took a step back in his development this year, raising questions about his future with the club.

Buescher only appeared in seven league games for the Black-and-Red in 2017, before going on loan in August to the Rochester Rhinos to make room for United’s influx of players during the secondary transfer window. And even after Buescher’s best statistical game of his career, Ben Olsen publicly said he was looking for more from the Generation adidas midfielder.

Buescher dealt with a knee injury for most of the preseason, while still participating throughout. Buescher started the first game of the season against Sporting Kansas City, but was rather ineffective, and was removed in the second half of the game. Then, partially due to the emergence of Ian Harkes, and having to continue to deal with a knee injury, Buescher would not see the field again for United until the end of May, when he started in the loss at Orlando City.

Even as United’s season slipped away, Buescher had trouble finding the field, even as Olsen searched for solutions for a floundering midfield. Buescher would make just five more league appearances in 2017 after the Orlando game, all as a substitute. The longest of those appearances lasted just 12 minutes, as he ended the season with just 180 minutes in the league, compared to 584 minutes in 2016.

Buescher did start both games for D.C. in the US Open Cup, as United’s cup run ended in a 2-1 defeat to the New England Revolution. In United’s first game, against Christos FC, an amateur side, Buescher scored twice, and assisted on the other two goals, as United came from behind to win 4-1.

But after the game, Olsen wasn’t all that pleased with Buescher’s performance.

During open practices, there appeared to be some issues between Olsen and Buescher. Never confrontational, it appeared though that Buescher on several occasions had tuned out his manager, or was simply not heeding the boss’ advice.

So when United had to find a way to make one more international spot available to get Zoltan Stieber on the roster in August, Buescher’s departure made the most sense. He was sent to the Rhinos of the USL, near where he went to college, at Syracuse University. Buescher got more regular playing time, appearing in 12 games, with five starts. Though in those five starts, Buescher never completed a full 90 minutes.

Buescher turns 25 early next season, and doesn’t appear to have much of a future with the club. But there might be a reason to keep him around. There’s a chance that Buescher won’t graduate from his Generation adidas contract. In that case, he’d still not count against the club’s salary cap. That just might be enticing enough to keep him around for another year, though opportunities to play might still be limited.

Let’s here your opinion in the comments.


Do you want Julian Buescher back for the 2018 season?

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