clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

D.C. United's Dispersal Draft prospects (Part two of two)

We took a look at every player United might take in the dispersal draft. It may be fair to say that it out of hand. This is part two.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we broke down the good and bad qualities of seven different Chivas USA players that D.C. United could theoretically take in today's Dispersal Draft. Today, we look at eight more:

Dan Kennedy
Age: 32
Position: Goalkeeper
Odds of ending up with DCU: Low

I bring up Kennedy only for a very specific situation: Let's say United has quietly started talks with some European club about Bill Hamid making a big-money move across the Atlantic. United would need another goalkeeper in that scenario, and this would be the easiest way to go get one. While Kennedy is no longer young and is often overrated - shot-stopping is only part of goalkeeping (see also: Luis Robles) - he's still a capable GK who would welcome the chance to work behind a back four that can actually, you know, defend. Kennedy's cap hit is not small by any means (base salary: $211,750), but it's not out of line with MLS starters in his spot.

The other reason to think about Kennedy would be as a bargaining chip. There are a few teams picking behind United that could use a new keeper (Montreal and Colorado come to mind), and offering them a starter would mean getting something valuable in return. It's not the nicest way to do business, but it's not an uncommon tactic in MLS. United could theoretically turn Kennedy into one of the earliest picks in the SuperDraft if a deal can be made with teams like the Impact or the Rapids.

Thomas McNamara
Age: 23
Position: Either side of midfield, but can also play as a second forward and possibly in a central role as well
Odds of ending up with DCU: Medium-high

Anyone who has played adult league soccer has had this happen to them: You look across at your opponent and see someone on the other team that looks out of shape or goofy in some way. You scoff to yourself. You see your teammates looking at the same person you are, and your eyes meet, and you all smirk knowingly. And then it ends up being that joker who hangs a hat trick on your team.

Well, that's pretty much McNamara. He's listed at 170 lbs, which for a 5'9" professional player is well above a normal weight. He runs kind of oddly, and most importantly, he has a genuine mullet. I mean, for real. Mullet traditionalists see him and nod in approval.

Don't judge a book by it's cover though. McNamara was a starter for Chivas from the get-go his rookie year until tearing his ACL mid-April. His first pass in MLS was a no-look, one-time pass that was completely unnecessary but totally awesome. McNamara plays with the kind of serious swagger we don't produce anywhere near enough in American soccer players.

It's not just entertainment factor, though. McNamara is effective going forward and has a natural awareness of when to play simply and when to put on a show. He also works hard enough to meet Ben Olsen's standards, and almost seems to relish physical play. That extra weight he carries is more of a barrel-chested, muscular variety rather than simply being out of shape, and McNamara uses it to hold off challenges and to be more of a force when winning tackles. He's also who Ben took in our network's mock dispersal draft.

The only things holding me back from flat-out saying that United should take him are that a) he might not be available when United is on the clock given that he's good, young, cheap, and versatile and b) that ACL tear. All of my impressions are based on his preseason and six starts this past spring. The good news is that he should be fully fit now and available for the entire preseason, but ACL tears don't always heal up perfectly. McNamara was by no means slow, but he's not the kind of guy who had so much speed that he could lose some without altering his game.

Oswaldo Minda
Age: 31
Position: Defensive midfield
Odds of ending up with DCU: Low

On one hand, Minda is an underrated midfield destroyer who would get a lot more attention if he played for any other team. He made Ecuador's World Cup team this past summer, and ended up starting their final two group stage games. While his cap hit is unknown, his listed base salary is just $150,000. In an interview last month with Alicia Rodriguez, he said he wants to stay in MLS despite being out of contract.

However, the issue with Minda is that he's not really cut out for Olsen's system. Minda is far better playing a deep role as a pure destroyer rather than having to play as part of a double pivot. There's also the presence of Perry Kitchen to think about. Kitchen should be our most defensive central midfielder, and Minda is a more conservative player than him. Barring a formation change, it's hard to see how Minda would fit into the team on the field.

Still, there's at least a chance Olsen sees Minda being able to succeed as part of a double pivot, and United does need to improve in terms of central midfield depth. If Minda could adapt to the system, he'd be instant competition for Davy Arnaud. I don't see it happening myself, but I'm not going to write about all these other Chivas players and leave out the only guy to play in this past World Cup.

Nigel Reo-Coker
Age: 30
Position: Central midfield, but can fill in reasonably enough at right midfield or at right back
Odds of ending up with DCU: Low (at least via this mechanism)

Speaking of central midfielders, Reo-Coker is one that would fit seamlessly into United's double pivot. In fact, Reo-Coker's best position of all is the role currently held by Arnaud. The Englishman is a powerful player who drives his team into the attack and has the sort of skill on the ball that explains why he has years of Premier League experience. Never mind that bike rack incident; Reo-Coker still has it. While few were watching those final Chivas games, he actually looked as good as he ever has in MLS. Of all the players available in this draft, Reo-Coker is the one that would have the best shot at instantly starting for United.

There's a big issue, though: His $400,000 salary (he's actually guaranteed $446,500). Selecting him today would lock United into whatever his existing contract says, and I don't think that means paying him a number the Black-and-Red can reasonably accommodate. I really can't see any team paying Reo-Coker that salary, though, so my expectation is to see someone pursue him in the Re-Entry Draft. At about half that salary, he'd be a great signing for United...or someone else, which is the most likely outcome here.

Martin Rivero
Age: 25
Position: Attacking midfield, though he has played on both flanks as well
Odds of ending up with DCU: Low

I've seen calls for United to think about Rivero, and I understand the appeal. He's still young, he makes barely more than the senior minimum, and he's got real skill and vision. Fans have mostly moved on from demanding that Olsen find and start a true #10 - winning the East will do that - but there's still a reason to have a #10 in your toolkit just in case, right?

There are issues here though. Rivero tore an ACL in both 2013 and 2014, which is either horrible luck or an indicator of some legitimate, chronic knee issue. The other problem is that Rivero is on loan in MLS from Rosario Central, and it's an odd situation. Last winter, the Rapids said his loan had expired and they declined the option to purchase his rights. Then, in April, they traded his rights to Chivas, who never made it clear what happened with regards to his loan. Most likely, MLS agreed with Rosario Central to extend the loan and then the Rapids opted to trade him, but who knows? The whole situation is an odd one, and taking him would be risky enough with the ACL issues.

Nathan Sturgis
Age: 27
Position: Pretty much everywhere in midfield or defense (save for attacking midfield)
Odds of ending up with DCU: Low-ish

There's nothing sexy about acquiring Sturgis. He's a classic MLS utility player, and has played for seven different MLS teams already. However, the reason he keeps being traded within the league rather than dropping down to the NASL or USL-PRO is because he's actually a well-rounded, capable player who is still only 27 years old. If United wants to cover a lot of defensive roles in one player off the bench, Sturgis is the guy. He can play any defensive position, he can play an anchor role, he can play in a double pivot, and he can offer security as a wide midfielder.

The only issue with Sturgis would be his salary, though with the cap going up in this winter's CBA negotiations I don't think his pay rate (just barely into the six figure range) is all that troubling. I can see United taking Sturgis to replace Alex Caskey, which given Caskey's play with United would be an improvement. However, taking Sturgis would be a terrible move if Delgado is still available, and I'd also much prefer to add McNamara as well.

Still, a scenario in which those two players aren't available is not outlandish, and at that point a guy like Sturgis becomes more reasonable. It might feel like we all just settled down and bought a minivan or a station wagon, but you know what? Sometimes you need that boring, safe option.

Donny Toia
Age: 22
Position: Left back, though he can play right back and possibly defensive midfield as well
Odds of ending up with DCU: Low-ish

Toia's an interesting case. He came up through Real Salt Lake's Arizona academy and became their first-ever Homegrown signing. They never gave him a minute of play, though, and in 2012 he found himself cut loose. He played the rest of that season in the PDL before moving up to USL-PRO in 2013. Toia impressed there and got himself some MLS trials during the 2014 preseason, and he ended up making 27 appearances for the Goats this season despite starting the season as basically the last guy on the roster.

Make no mistake: Toia has a lot to learn. However, there's real potential there too, and he bounced back quicker from his early career setback than most other HGPs who didn't make the grade. By all accounts, he's very coachable and eager to keep improving. All that in a 22 year old who plays a problematic position? United may find themselves losing Taylor Kemp or Chris Korb in the expansion draft, and in that case having someone like Toia around would be a good idea. He shouldn't be at the top of anyone's list, but if United selects him it won't be a bad move in and of itself.

Kris Tyrpak
Age: 22
Position: Forward and on either flank in the midfield
Odds of ending up with DCU: Low

I'm including Tyrpak mostly because I think he has a future in MLS, and not just because his first-ever MLS goal involved beating five Colorado players on the dribble. He's raw, to be sure, but his close control is good, he seems willing to do the work involved when you're not your team's star, and he has some decent quickness to boot.

Even in a worst-case scenario, there are smarter things to do with the #4 pick, but were United to take Tyrpak he'd have a real shot at making the roster. I'd rate him as more likely to make the team than your average preseason trialist, for whatever that's worth. If United doesn't like the cheap options still available when it's time to make a pick, selecting Tyrpak would be a better idea than passing. In situations like this dispersal draft, one should never underestimate the appeal of a player making the MLS minimum who just might turn out to be, say, a David Estrada-level contributor.