D.C. United has officially announced that they have signed Zoltan Stieber. Stieber joins United from 1.FC Kaiserslautern of the 2.Bundesliga, having previously played for Hamburger SV of the Bundesliga. He also has 21 caps and three goals for Hungary, playing in all three of their Euro 2016 matches and scoring in their 2-0 win over Austria.
Notably, Stieber was not signed as a Designated Player but as a player using Targeted Allocation Money; all MLS teams have gotten influxes of TAM over the past few seasons, and the rumor has been that an additional $2,000,000 has been allocated for this season. His TAM player status looks to be for at least this year and next year.
Stieber projects as a winger in MLS, though he has played as both wide as and a central attacking midfielder. With United’s entire corps of wingers aging and underperforming, Stieber should begin to get starts as soon as he is eligible and fit, hopefully using this season to get a jump on 2018. Stieber should already know at least one player on United’s roster: earlier in his career, he played a couple of games for Mainz 05 II at the same time that Jared Jeffrey was there.
When asked at training today about what Stieber brings to the table, United head coach Ben Olsen said “Quality. His ability to connect passes, he’s got a final product. The game is pretty easy for him. Now, him adapting to our league and our team, getting fit, as he hasn’t been playing regular soccer over the last couple of months, is our challenge. And fitting him in with this group. He’s an exciting piece to have.”
United is not done with this transfer window, and there should be at least one more major signing coming. The team did confirm that this signing uses up their last currently available international roster spot, but there are ways to get those during the season. They could either trade for one for some allocation money, or they could send a currently rostered international (like Julian Buescher) on loan for the rest of the season.