Refining the Roster: A Sennight Remains

One week. That's all we've got left before roster deadline day. Since last we spoke, we've (1) signed trialist forward N'Silu, (2) failed to bring the Jamaican winger Vernan in on trial, (3) apparently dismissed the keeper we acquired from the Rapids as part of the Gomez trade, and (4) added another hulking, raw defensive prospect to the trialist brigade. You know the drill--updates are in bold red.

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
8. Olsen, M
9. Simms, M
10. (I) Gomez, M/F
11. Khumalo, M/F
12. Pontius M/F
13. Quaranta, M/F
14. (I) Emilio, F
15. Moreno, F
16. (I) Doe, F
17. (I) N'Silu, F - the Euro-journeyman should complete our forward line
21. (D,GA) Wallace, D/M

. . . which now leaves us with three senior and three developmental spots to fill, as well as three open international spots for potential additions (see last week's updates for where that extra one came from). Of course, if we can convince more players to accept ridiculous developmental deals, we can have as many as six dev guys, thus reducing the senior roster to eighteen, but that's not going to happen. Now on to . . .

The Questionables

1. (I) Kocic, GK - wonder if the arrival of Platter (and his 90-minute spell against Puerto Rico) signals that the SuperSerb isn't all the FO thought he was?
2. Platter, GK - USL1 import on trial, age (27) would require a senior roster spot
3. Thorpe, GK - fighting for the #3 spot, if indeed we're keeping three keepers
4. (I) Danso, D - "signed", but Kasper says they're giving him an "opportunity to earn a spot"; center backs are needed, but is this the answer?
5. (I) The "Mivdun", D - Jeebus, Danso better not be the answer here, because he's certainly no veteran
6. Peters, D - monster center back, small-college product, age (25) would require a senior roster spot, no pro experience
7. Veris, D - concussion hurts his chances, in a "winner-take-all" with Peters for a senior spot?
8. Zaher, D - fighting for scraps as fullback depth, Adams in Europe and Guerrero gone leaves the door wide open
9. Miller, D/M - ditto
10. Mediate, D/M - will he be able to earn a senior roster spot as defensive cover?
11. Barklage, M/F - willing to sign a dev deal? no Cordeiro/Kirk/Thomspon = fighting chance

Graczyk didn't make the trip to Puerto Rico, so I'm assuming that he's been lobbed back into the MLS "keeper pool." I've removed both him and Adams, who I figure isn't going to show with just one week left to make an impression. Paradoxically, I've kept the Mivdun for now, more out of faint hope that the FO can get something done than anything else. So that makes eleven guys, assuming no other additions, fighting for six spots. Which leads us to the following arrangement of dominoes . . .

(1) It seems like we're looking for a second senior-roster keeper to ensure solid depth and protect against a mid-summer departure by Crayton. That puts Kocic and Platter in a fight to the death for that spot. Also, assuming that the number of keepers we've been looking at signals the FO's intention to have a third, developmental keeper, that makes Thorpe the favorite, with Kocic a potential competitor if he's willing to forgo opportunities abroad for chump change.

Result: Down to two senior, two developmental, 2-3 international depending on whether Kocic makes the cut.

(2) Unless the FO miraculously pulls a Mivdun out of its derrière, we're looking at two of Peters, Veris, and Mediate making the senior roster. Despite our desperate need for centerbacks, I'm betting we'll only take one of Peters and Veris because Mediate provides depth at right back (note where he played against the Islanders) and midfield as well.

Result: Senior roster filled, leaving two developmental and 2-3 international spots.

(3) Barklage, Miller, Zaher, and Danso are competing for two spots. The international wiggle room means that Danso's foreign status doesn't hurt him here. If this were my play, I'd take Danso and Zaher. Danso may wash out, but it wouldn't hurt to have another center back available, particularly one who impressed during the winter camp. Of course, Kocic impressed during that same camp, and he seems to be slipping off the depth chart. If Mediate returns, he provides good cover at right back (along with McTavish and perhaps Olsen), meaning that Miller is excess to requirements. On the left, we've got Burch and Wallace, but Wallace is also left wing depth, and what I've seen of Zaher says he has enough about him to challenge Burch for time. Barklage is a victim of just too much midfield and forward depth.

So that's how I would fill the slots at the moment. Of course, I'm not out there watching the practices, so I don't know who's showing particularly well. How about you? Who would make your final roster given the produce in the shop window? Also, are you concerned that the FO seems to take the keeper depth more seriously than the center back depth? Even if we can't land a Mivdun, why aren't we taking a look at some USL1 defensive veterans? Surely they've got more to offer than recent small-college grads (Peters and Danso)?


  1. I think something's up for this Mivdun, some plays behind the scenes that none but Soehn, Kasper & Co. are privy to. I think this because I agree that the FO seems to have a curious preoccupation with keeper depth and a curious lack of concern for veteran center defenders.

    To that end, Greg Seltzer over at No Short Corners posted earlier today about the chances DCU could secure Gregg Berhalter over the summer. If something like that materializes, then a preseason spent getting the nucleus to gel will be a priceless asset throughout the season.

  2. True, but then again . . .

    (1) Berhalter has never played in MLS. Despite his vast experience, it's going to take him a while to "bed into" a new league. Does a mid-season move allow time for this? Perhaps, if the "nucleus" is getting the job done. If not? Into the fire he goes!

    (2) He'll be coming off, what?, 10 months of play with 1860? Into the hot summer months of MLS with 4+ months of play ahead of him? How long do those 30-something legs last? Again, if we don't need him right away, this isn't a dire issue. But with the group we've got now, it's looking increasingly like we'll need summer help to step in right away.

    We shall see.

  3. 1. You noted that Peters has no pro experience but I think he played in Norway and Iceland after two years at Kentucky and before coming home and playing two more years of college ball in West Virginia. Also has some PDL experience in Louisiana. Not great pro experience but some nonetheless.

    2. Berhalter - same post at NSC notes that Berhalter has not played a lot this year and is relatively fresh.

    3. All signs point to no MIVDUN until summer. Osorio seems to be working harder to find some interesting int'l prospects (Argentina, Spain, El Salvador) and Arena is still trying to lock down Chavez - but we are just checking the MLS waiver wire for the trialist discards (Danso and Peters).

  4. i agree with your assessment of the roster... in my opinion, I wouldn't mind seeing Peters over Veris, just bc Veris couldn't cut it for LA a few years ago, plus has a concussion, and Peters is bigger and looks like a beast if he is coachable.. and as much as I love Dom, I'd almost rather see Barklage get a shot, but at least Dom will bring versatility to the fact that he'll be the 21st or 22nd person on the depth chart... I also like Danso a lot and prefer Zaher over Miller... so lets hope for that... I"m also hoping Kocic pulls out of his funk or else I'm going to start complaining about how we didn't draft Stefan Frei again...

  5. Berhalter Regardless of whether he's been playing regularly or not, he's been in the daily grind of training since last July/August. That's a lot of wear on old legs, and the MLS summer does old legs no favors.

    Peters All I've seen is that he "explored opportunities"--a euphemism for "had a couple of trials but couldn't catch on." If he did sign a pro deal, wouldn't that negate his ability to return and play college ball in the states?

    Mivdun The head-scratcher is that we seem really intent on shoring up the keeper position, but not central defense. As Josh noted, we seem to be haunting the waiver wire rather than entertaining legitimate starting options.

    Why not bring in a few veteran USL guys (as we've done with Platter at GK)? We pulled Janicki out of USL2 and seem pleased with him. Surely there is a journeyman center back in USL that might provide some solid play and organizing capability. I'm not saying such a player would be a long-term solution, but we've got cap space. Wouldn't it be better to have options than a bunch of "promising" kids?

    Here's hoping for some answers this week.

  6. I'm thinking Platter, Mediate, Peters, and Danso.

  7. That gets you the three senior spots and one dev. The other two devs would be Thorpe and . . ?

    Looks like Goff is going to shed some light later today, so I'll be posting another one of these if anything new comes to light.

  8. Zaher has been let go so I'll assume Miller is getting a dev. deal since they gave him number 2 already. So Wallace, Thorpe, and Miller would leave 1 dev. spot for either Danso or Barklage... my money is on Danso. There are still 2 battles for the senior roster and that is Kocic vs. Platter and Veris vs. Peters... I'll assume Mediate will get the last spot unless we decide to keep 4 goalies(not happening) or keep both Veris and Peters(unlikely)

  9. Dejan Jakovic could have just changed the dynamics of the roster