Tickle v. Tackle | United's Summer Shopping Extravaganza

With two senior roster spots open and a developmental spot presenting itself in the wake of Barklage's season-ending knee injury, United seems to have wasted no time in assessing the summer transfer market wares and making their selections. So let's see where they rate on the Tickletacklemeter...

Already Signed

Danny Szetela
USA, Age 22, Midfielder (central or right) Previously with Racing Santander, Brescia Calcio, Columbus Crew
  • Tickle: Szetela checks the second biggest box on the summer shopping list: central midfield depth. He has a wealth of experience with the US youth national teams and 3 caps for the senior side, and has spent the last 2 years (hopefully) learning humility and how to be a professional in Italy and Spain. Given his limited success in Europe, he'll be looking to prove himself and work his way onto Bob Bradley's radar. Szetela's versatility means that he can cover either central midfield spot (for Simms or Olsen), can operate on the right flank, and can slot in at right back in a pinch.
  • Tackle: His reputation as a egotistical problem child and not the hardest worker on the training pitch precedes him. Here's hoping that he's grown up since his first MLS stint with the Crew. Also, while central midfield depth was sorely needed (hindsight goes 20/20 with Simms' potential surgery looming), the primary need was a left defender. We haven't seen salary figures yet, but I'm betting his contract must be pretty lucrative for him to ignore Euro-offers. I wonder if that money might have been better spent on a solid, veteran left-sided defender.

Sale Pending

David Habarugira
Burundi, Age 20, Defender (central or left) Previously with Anderlecht, Union Saint-Gilloise
  • Tickle: The biggest box we needed to check was a left back. Habarugira is listed as both a left defender (at Wikipedia: font of all that is known and true) or défenseur central. That says to me that he's probably a lefty playing in central defense, which should work in our system if he's got reasonable technical skills and a decent grasp of tactics (both likely given his 5+ years tenure in the Anderlecht youth system). He's also young and wore my number (the cursed #2!) with Anderlecht.
  • Tackle: He's young and wore my number (the cursed #2!) with Anderlecht ;-). Seriously, our biggest need is a tactically solid defender at left back. Is a 20 year-old going to provide that? Also, will he be able to cope with the physical demands of MLS? I know nothing of his physical capabilities, but all sites agree that he's 5'8", so he'd better have some serious hops.

Ely Allen
USA, Age 23, Forward-Midfielder (left)
Previously with LA Galaxy, Seattle Wolves

  • Tickle: Allen is a reasonable quick player who can slot in on the left flank or play up top, and brings some MLS experience to the table as well. He provides wide midfield cover for the loss of Barklage and quick-forward cover for Khumalo, who may be out for a month or more depending on the severity of his injury. Also, he turned in a reasonable 2 years of service for my United side in Football Manager as a utility winger/forward, though his consistent blowing of one-on-one chances saw me ship him off in a package-deal trade.
  • Tackle: Allen got cut by the Galaxy in pre-season and couldn't make the expansion Sounders roster. Indeed, he even fell through the USL cracks to land with the Seattle Wolves in the PDL. Hmmm.


  1. One must note that Wikipedia also lists David Habarugira as a "famous past player" in its entry for the Union St Gilloise (one of the great old clubs of Brussels that has seen better times).

    I'm not sure what he has done by the age of 20 that has made him so famous - maybe it is the fact that he has signed with DC United!

  2. Tickle Tackle? OK.

    I didn't know about Habarugira being left footed. But the worrying thing is that Soehn said "He can play Anywhere!"

    In MLS, that means this guy isn't solid enough in any one position to hold it down. But, maybe he'll be great. Not feeling it like I did with Jakovic, though.

    As for Szetela, if Olsen can't handle him, who can?