D.C. United had three rookies on the team this season: Miguel Aguilar, the first round pick, spent time with the United second team with stints in Richmond; Dan Metzger, the second round pick, was released in preseason and signed with NYRB2; Travis Worra, an undrafted free agent, was signed in late February. The fourth, Luke Mishu, was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, of which he was the captain, just after the first game.
Mishu was brought into D.C. United camp during their stint in Austin, and impressed enough to be signed over Rawshaun McKenzie, who ended up signing for the Atlanta Silverbacks of NASL. He was signed to be a backup fullback, and performed well in that role; in the end, he supplanted D.C. United homegrown player Jalen Robinson as fourth on the depth chart.
He got two starts for United early in the season, both of which were midweek games in streaks where United had three games in a week. Against the Portland Timbers, when he played in midfield, he was mostly anonymous, but fared better in his actual fullback positions against the hapless Chicago Fire a month later. He also appeared in all of United's Concacaf Champions League games, started both of United's US Open Cup matches, and made eleven starts for the Richmond Kickers, notching one assist.
Across all competitions, he ended up playing in 19 games, which is pretty good for a rookie and shows the benefit of the USL-MLS affiliation. Without it, Mishu would have played sporadically throughout the year and wouldn't have been ready for the CCL games.
After looking shaky at the beginning of the year, I think that he looked better and better down the stretch. And at the rookie minimum of $50,000 this year, that's a pretty good bargain. I don't think he will be a starter any time soon, but I think he could eventually evolve like Chris Korb or Taylor Kemp at least into solid depth for an MLS team.
But what do you think? Do you want Luke Mishu back next year?