Refining the Roster: Gomez Returneth

So we took a quality (if aging and slowing) left back/winger, a second round pick in the increasingly useless draft, and a DP spot, and exchanged them for a big question mark at a reduced salary and yet another keeper? Hello? FO? Anybody paying attention in there? Well, at least Goff confirms that the search for defensive help is back on (bring back the Mivdun!). And what do I know about putting together a roster beyond the digital confines of Football Manager anyway?

Updates in bold red touch down in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

The (Incomplete) Roster

1. (I) Crayton, GK
2. Janicki, D
3. Namoff, D
4. Burch, D/M
5. McTavish, D/M
6. (I) Fred, M
7. Jacobson, M - so, are we still "finalizing" his deal, like we were with Roger?
8. Olsen, M - still wishin' and hopin'
9. Simms, M
10. Vide, M
11. (I) Gomez, M/F
12. Khumalo, M/F
13. Pontius M/F
14. Quaranta, M/F
15. (I) Emilio, F
16. Moreno, F
17. (I) Doe, F
21. (D,GA) Wallace, D/M

. . . leaving three senior and three developmental spots to fill, as well as three open international spots for potential additions. Of course, if we can convince more players to accept ridiculous developmental deals, we can have as many as six, thus reducing the senior roster to eighteen. And, I'd like to point out, we have five, count them!, five defenders on the roster. Now on to . . .

The Questionables

1. Graczyk, GK - league spackle-keeper last year, acquired from Colorado
2. (I?) Kocic, GK - still negotiating, the way the Roger thing ended and the acquisition of another keeper leaves me wondering . . . and worrying

3. Thorpe, GK - fighting for the #3 spot?
4. Wells, GK - almost certainly retiring
5. Adams, D - still wandering around Europe
6. (I) Gonzalo Martinez, D - option not picked up; almost certainly gone
7. (I) The "Mivdun", D - the FO is hunting for foreign defenders again in the wake of Roger's departure
8. Veris, D - big center back on trial
9. Zaher, D - fighting for scraps as fullback depth, Adams in Europe and Guerrero gone leaves the door wide open
10. Miller, D/M - ditto
11. Mediate, D/M - will he be able to earn a senior roster spot as defensive help?
12. Barklage, M/F - willing to sign a dev deal? no Cordeiro/Kirk/Thomspon = fighting chance
13. Atieno, F - big target forward on trial, USL 1 import
14. N'Silu, F - another big forward on trial, Euro-journeyman

Bush (GK) and De Jong (M) have left camp, though young De Jong (linguistic pun most definitely intended!) may be back in the summer. So . . .

(1) How many keepers are we going to carry? Can we afford to have three on the books, thus taking up 1/8 of our roster for a spot that, realistically, is only going to provide one guy who picks up solid minutes? Is the FO getting nervous about Kocic, either that he might not be all they figured him to be, or that he wants a senior deal they're not willing to give him? Big question marks.

(2) We got rid of a guy who plays as an attacking left back for a decent international squad, and are going to give his position to Burch? Okay . . ? I wish I could say I trusted the FO, but it feels to me like we're snatching at straws here and purging quality for some nebulous "spirit of the young Americans" that is supposed to carry us to glory. At least Goff says they're trying to find another Mivdun (Mystery Veteran Defender of Unknown Nationality). Of course, even with that Mivdun, our second central defensive starter is one of Janicki, Veris, or McTavish. Doesn't exactly strike fear in the heart now, does it? Then again, maybe we're looking at a back three . . ?

(3) I'll be eager to see what sort of formation Tommy thinks he's going to use this year. The reason? Gomez needs cover behind him if he's in central midfield, perhaps more cover than Simms alone can provide. Are we thinking of going back to the 3-5-2? Shouldn't we then have kept Guerrero, who is much more a left wingback than Fred or Burch are ever going to be? Are we planning a sort of 4-4-1-1 with Gomez and Moreno platooning as the withdrawn, playmaking forward? If so, shouldn't we have, again, kept Guerrero, who plays a wider role than Fred? And also, if we're going to such a formation, why do we have so many forwards, both on the roster and on trial?

Many, many questions. Like much of the United blogosphere, I like and respect Gomez as a player but feel we gave up way too much to get him back, particularly given the question marks dancing around his fitness and Colorado's eagerness to unload him. At least we're hearing noises about a continued search for defensive help. But when does the search turn to a desperation grab that results in disaster?


  1. Very worried. It's not that Guerrero was great, but he was solid and had a good workrate which many of our guys seemed to lack last year. I liked Gomez when he was here and maybe he can rebuild his reputation to what it was in least I hope so; but I wonder if the difference he will provide will be great or marginal relative to Fred or Santino in the same role. .Is he worth the price we paid?

    More importantly, I just get the impession that Payne, Kasper and Soehn have no real long-term plan for the club. We react to circumstances and events without addressing basic issues; and when we do, we almost always get the wrong player to solve our problems. This is not the United of old. Something is broken.

  2. Well said, Anonymous.

    I wonder whose will be the first head to roll should things turn out the way many of us seem to fear they will.