While D.C. United's roster is quickly settling into place, not all of the pieces are finalized. As D.C. United beings its preseason at the end of this week, there will undoubtedly be more players who come to camp than the club has roster spots for, with its draft picks and expected trialists from the lower leagues in the United States and abroad. Also, Dave Kasper has made it clear that the club is still looking for a left back option to compete with or supplant Chris Korb there, so another move may be in the works there as well. And while the incumbent players start with an advantage to make the team over the unsigned players, there is also a chance of some movement near the end of the roster.
With all of that in mind, we decided to start a series that will run throughout the preseason, giving our guesses as to which players are likely to stick and which players are on the bubble to be cut before the season begins.
- Locks: Bill Hamid, Joe Willis, Andrew Dykstra
There is no question about D.C. United's slate of goalkeepers coming into the 2014. Only a surprise transfer or long-term injury could change any of this.
- Locks: Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Jeff Parke, Chris Korb, Steve Birnbaum, Nana Attakora, Jalen Robinson
- Bubble: Taylor Kemp, Conor Shanosky, Travis Golden
The locks should be no surprise; the first four are the presumed starters coming into training camp, plus our already signed first-round draft pick, the third center back, and a Homegrown player. Taylor Kemp leads the bubble players only because the team has no better left back options at this time. Golden and Barnes start with the most difficulties to a roster spot, and both of them will be competing against each other and against Kemp. Shanosky chances are mostly economical, but he is the third longest tenured player on the team and has still yet to stay in DC on a regular basis, often being loaned out.
- Locks: Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud, Jared Jeffery, Luis Silva, Collin Martin, Lewis Neal, Kyle Porter
- Bubble: Victor Munoz, Zach Barnes
The midfield is fairly locked down going into the season, with little movement expected between the locks and the bubbles. There will be some midfield trialists as well, and probably only one out of this group will actually make the team. I am excited by Munoz's potential and pedigree, so I think he starts with an advantage over whomever they might bring in. Barnes has been a midfielder for most of his career, but likely won't find any success against this group; breaking in against Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Jared Jeffrey, and Lewis Neal seems difficult. His hope, as we discussed on the last episode of Filibuster, is to make a conversion to let back.
- Locks: Eddie Johnson, Fabian Espindola, Conor Doyle, Michael Seaton
- Bubble: Casey Townsend
Casey Townsend has become somewhat of a forgotten man, and if United acquires another forward (perhaps Christiano Francois?) then his position on the team becomes even more tenuous.
- Roster spots available: 30
- Current number of players in camp: 29
- Number of players released from camp: 0
Was I too kind to any player? Too harsh? Let me know in the comments who you think the bubble players and locks are!
- D.C. United preseason depth chart: Who do we think will make the final roster?
- Filibuster podcast episode 64: Floating through space and time
- D.C. United select Zach Barnes and Travis Golden in the MLS SuperDraft
- D.C. United's 2014 "Third Games": An Analysis
- Freedom Kicks: D.C. United links for Tuesday 21 January 2014