Happy Thanksgiving! Welcome to the third entry in our series of
not-at-all very much too early looks at D.C. United's potential starting lineup for the 2016 season. To see previous entries, be sure to check our StoryStream.
This is pretty easy, so much so that the first five names are unchanged from 2015:
GK: Bill Hamid. The only question to this is whether the team decides to make a play for Cody Neidermeier or Arie Ammann to try and follow in Bill's path, in which case Bill's a goner. Otherwise, nice to have you back and such.
RB: Sean Franklin. Had some nagging injuries, and I hope we're getting to the point where he can still turn in 30 games a year.
CB: Steve Birnbaum. Will fight off an equally impressive Kofi Opare for this role, which leads me to...
CB: Bobby Boswell. I don't like this particularly, because I've been a fan of his for awhile, but for no reason in particular, I don't think he finishes the year in this spot.
LB: Taylor Kemp. Sagged at the end of the year but whether folks want to admit it or not, his defensive play has gradually improved year over year.
CDM: Markus Halsti. Insurance for Perry Kitchen finally gets the CDM spot on his own, without Perry Kitchen.
RM: Nick DeLeon. Works on both ends of (and sides over the course of a game) the field and on a team of geriatrics, it's nice to have one here that's under 30.
LM: Alan Judge. Off the grid pick? Check. Adding the Irish Messi to a team that once trialed the Indonesian Messi? Double check. But on a team who wants to find the "next" Bradley Wright-Phillips or the "next" midfielder from Central America, getting a guy who just turned 27 who they can possibly buy the last year of contract from for a modest fee, and who was in the Top 5 in assists in the English Championship last year and (as of this writing) this year also? Worth a tire-kicking, at least.
CAM: Chris Rolfe. Rolfe may not be paired with Espindola in this lineup per se, but can still provide combination play with Fabi in this role, while occasionally interchanging across the midfield.
F: Fabian Espindola. Really no other person to write here, assuming he stays out of trouble.
F: Emir Kujovic. Speaking of off the grid, who’s up for a Montegrin-born Swedish footballer? All kidding aside, another 27-year old who is a physical beast at 6’4" and almost 200 pounds, who’s only scored 31 goals in his last 48 club games, and who took home this year’s Golden Boot for IFK Norrkoping in the Allsvenskan, home of D.C. United’s last offseason international signing. He even was called up for Sweden in the recent Euro 2016 playoff with Denmark. If this team wants to start getting incrementally younger, it’ll need to do it somewhere.
I think that the two new additions here are purely speculative in the sense based on front office philosophy or trend, and have nothing to go on for these, but if nothing else, would make for interesting viewing.
We'll be back next week with more potential lineups Ben Olsen could use for free next week. Until then, let us know in the comments how you think this one would do in 2016.