Well, folks, we're at the second-to-last stop on our player-by-player countdown to D.C. United's opener on Saturday. Today's subject is the other new fullback on the team, number three, Christian. We know the positives he brings to the table - he can send in crosses with better pace and accuracy than anybody we've seen at the fullback spot in some time, and at least in Spain he showed a ridiculous penchant for getting onto the end of set pieces and putting them into the net (not his own net, mind you, unlike a certain new LA Galaxy fullback). He has also shown well in possession play and has contributed to a sturdy defense as a part of the famously revamped back four.
But then there's the fouling. In Spain, he had a knack for finding his way into the referee's book entirely too frequently, and that has seemed to follow him Stateside, as he earned himself a deserved straight red card in the final preseason match against Seattle thanks to an awful tackle on DeAndre Yedlin. Yedlin had burst past Christian on the outside, and the Spaniard reacted too late even for a proper professional foul. He (and the coaching/scouting staff who prepare him) will have to do better once the season starts to avoid missing significant time due to red card suspensions and yellow card accumulation.
So, do we think he'll be able to cut this malady from his game? Obviously it's too early to tell, but that question would seem to be the big thing that will determine whether his season is a success. If he proves to be more liability than asset on the field, then we could see Chris Korb replace him on a regular, or even full-time, basis. If he can keep himself out of trouble, though, Christian could be a great asset for Ben Olsen's side, which really is dependent on the fullbacks getting forward like Christian loves to do.