With that in mind, what can we learn from the lineups and the reaction from those in attendance . . ?
- N'Silu and Atieno seem to be cut from the same bruising Addlery mold. Both are young enough to qualify for developmental deals, but do you think either will join us for that kind of money? Me neither. At most, we sign one of them, though lower-division journeyman target forwards are a poor substitute for the #3 forward on Honduras' depth chart (adios, Walter Martinez). If we're headed this direction, and assuming we still need at least one more senior center back, somebody on the existing senior roster is getting cut or traded.
- Bob De Jong turns out to be a central midfielder with decent technique and distribution. At 17, you've got to wonder what he's doing in the US, but if he's willing to sign a developmental deal, a 17 year old with good skill brought up in a professional environment is probably a better investment than a 22 year old recent college grad who's tooled around in the PDL.
- Looks like Quaranta/Boyzzz is the answer at right wing for now.
- Perhaps I'm reading too much into this at too early a stage, but McTavish getting time at right back says to me that he's Mr. Utility again this year, not a starting center back. At least that's what I hope! Namoff isn't getting any younger, so it's reasonable to assume that perhaps McTavish is being groomed as his successor.
- Word on Jacobson is that he's looking good. Between Vide, Jacobson, Simms, and perhaps Olsen, we've got a potentially strong core of central midfielders. Depending upon what sort of formation we're going to play this year, we might even have have too many. Trade bait?
- Roger should bring poise and distribution at the back. Diceson mentioned in one of his previous practice writeups that everybody spoke at least a little English this year, in contrast to last year. Does that mean that Roger does as well? If so, that would be a big boost for organization at the back.
- Everything I've been reading about Olsen says that he's going to be depth, not a reliable starter this year. I see him in the Carroll role from a couple of years back, a second holding mid brought on to close out games where we have the lead. He'll probably also pick up a few utility starts at right mid and perhaps right back. Olsen carries much too high a salary to justify such a role, but (1) the contract is guaranteed so it's not like we can get out from under it, and (2) the spirit and drive his presence brings, even if it's just on the bench, might cover the balance.
PS: In a related note about player development, Part 3 of Soccernet's USSF youth development series is up. Why is this in a United post? Well, turns out that Kevin Payne was the chair of a task force investigating youth development systems overseas. Who knew?