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D.C. United has reportedly released Jose Ortiz

It looks like the Black-and-Red are clearing the deck for more moves

D.C. United is apparently making room for new players in the transfer window. Steve Goff of the Washington Post is reporting that the Black-and-Red have released forward Jose Ortiz. Ortiz had joined United on loan from CS Herediano and managed to score the club’s first goal of the 2017 season, but that strike against Philadelphia is his only goal or assist in 16 league appearances.

Ortiz did manage to score in United’s recent Open Cup loss at New England, but 2 goals from 18 total appearances was apparently not enough to convince a goal-starved club to keep Ortiz around for the rest of the 2017 season. By terminating Ortiz’s loan, United would have two open international slots. Three of United’s spots - all clubs start with eight - are held by other teams (Portland, NYCFC, and Montreal) through the end of 2017, while the Black-and-Red owe one for 2018 to the Houston Dynamo as part of the deal that brought Deshorn Brown to D.C.

Acquiring Brown certainly would seem to be a factor here, as the Jamaican is clearly a better fit for United’s formation. Whether the 4231 remains in place for the rest of the year, or United goes back to a 4141 that could also be seen as a 433, there’s only one center forward job on the field. Ortiz, always more likely to fit in as a second forward, has never showed that he could offer up the hold-up play or speed to make that work. Throw in a tendency to not produce many shots - his time here ends with 2.83 shots per 90 minutes played, and includes three 60+ minute appearances with only one shot attempt - and it’s not hard to figure out why United would look to make a change.

It also appears that Los Capitalinos may have another player in mind for the role Ortiz currently has. Bolivian attacker Bruno Miranda, 19, has been strongly linked with United in the last week or so, would probably be more of a winger than a second forward in Ben Olsen’s current set-up given that he’s only 5’9”. If Miranda is filling Ortiz’s role within the overall roster (a safe assumption at this point, but still just an assumption), it’s probably a step in the right direction to go truly young when looking for prospects from abroad.

Moving Ortiz would also leave a senior roster spot open, which would allow United to address upgrading their starting lineup. Miranda is probably one for the future, whereas DCU needs immediate help at a few different positions. Having flexibility like this would allow the club to sign a high-end defensive midfielder, for example, or a goalscoring winger that could add more bite to an attack that has struggled all year long.