On the eve of the 2019 MLS season, D.C. United appears to have completed their offseason business with the signing of veteran striker Quincy Amarikwa. The 31 year old was signed as a free agent, having joined United’s training camp weeks ago. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are excited to add Quincy to the roster ahead of the 2019 season,” said GM Dave Kasper in a team press release. “He has over 10 years of MLS experience and is going to be a valuable attacking option for us this season. We’re looking forward to adding that experience and depth to our roster ahead of our March 3 season opener.”
Amarikwa’s spot on the roster is clear: he’s going to be Wayne Rooney’s back-up, which means he’ll probably play more off the bench with United trailing than any other time. In those scenarios, Ben Olsen has shown a preference to remove a defensive midfielder and deploy Rooney closer to Luciano Acosta, opening up a spot for a forward to enter the fray.
Amarikwa is not a prolific goalscorer (25 goals in 200 career appearances), but he has always seemed to find a way to make a difference in games. Despite being just 5’9”, Amarikwa has had success as a target forward thanks to his physical strength, work rate, and toughness. Given how many goals United got from midfield last year, there’s reason to believe he’ll fit the team’s tactical needs.
Amarikwa’s MLS career reaches back a decade, when he was drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes. His time in the league includes five seasons with the Quakes divided between two stints there, as well as three years with the Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire, plus a pair of half-season stops with Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact, who mostly used him as a starter last season after picking him up from San Jose.
After completing their deal with Amarikwa, United enters the season with 24 players under contract. That’s a bit odd given their aspirations for this season, especially when you factor in that 24 is really more like 22. Oniel Fisher is months away from being able to play, and the club’s plans for homegrown signing Antonio Bustamante appear to largely involve him playing for Loudoun United. Chris Odoi-Atsem is training to a certain extent, but still has plenty of work to do to rebuild his fitness after overcoming Hodkin’s lymphoma.