United is back in the States, ready to kick off the Carolina Challenge Cup, but a couple of trialists got lost on the way back from Mexico. Jermaine Taylor's long-awaited trial came to an abrupt end, and Daniel Wasson's extended run has finally fizzled out. Reading our favored tea leaves again says that perhaps (1) Taylor just wasn't good enough, (2) Taylor was still carrying an injury, or (3) Pena is the Mivdun messiah. As for Wasson? Either he's not better than DiRaimondo or he won't take Dev Dollars. Either way, not a huge loss.
Time to update the list. This time, however, I'm going to throw in a new feature by highlighting who I think are the bubble-boys, arranged as follows...
Almost a lock
In the mix
Outside, looking in
1. Josh Wicks, GK2. Troy Perkins, GK3. (I) Julius James, D4. Lawson Vaughn, D - third choice right back at the moment; worth a senior spot?5. Marc Burch, D6. (I) Dejan Jakovic, D7. Bryan Namoff, D8. Devon McTavish, D/M - versatility is key; can play central or right in midfield and defense9. Rodney Wallace, D/M10. (I) Cristian Castillo, M11. Kurt Morsink, M12. Danny Szetela, M13. Clyde Simms, M14. (I) Tiyiselani Shipalane, M/F - speed and flair bring something different; does he have more potential than Boyzzz?15. Chris Pontius, M/F16. Santino Quaranta, M/F17. (I) Thabiso Khumalo, M/F - quick, hard-working; not the most reliable finisher; one of he or Shipalane would seem to be surplus18. Adam Cristman, F19. Jaime Moreno, F20. (I) Danny Allsopp, F
1. (GA) Bill Hamid, GK2. Jordan Graye, D - hasn't been dismissed yet, but we haven't heard much about him either3. Brandon Barklage, M - only question is whether he gets a senior spot or not4. John DiRaimondo, M - Morsink's arrival pushes him further down the depth chart
1. Andrew Quinn, GK - is he even still with the team?2. (I?) Lyle Adams, D - hasn't forced his way past Vaughn yet, will he settle for Dev Dollars?4. (I) Juan Manuel Pena, D - I want to say it's a lock, but we don't know salary demands yet or how impressive he was in a single half of play in Mexico3. (I) Quiarol Arzu, D - Honduran youth national teamer, awaiting judgement after his trial
6. Daniel Woolard, D - almost a lock if he wants Dev Dollars; if he wants a senior deal?5. Barry Rice, D - not many spots open, but we might have room for a project center back
7. Andy Najar, M/F - would be "outside," but got called back in for the Carolina Cup; possible GenAd deal?
GA = Generation Adidas
I = requires international roster spot, maximum of 8 internationals on final roster [Cristman trade leaves us with 7 spots]
We'll know more in the next week as we see the lineups that Onalfo runs out in the Carolina Challenge Cup. The questions that need to be answered, remembering that Burch will likely start on the inactive list, giving us one free senior roster spot at the moment:
(1) Does Pena still have the legs and the desire? Smarts and ability are not in question, but his salary demands might be. Still, given the promises of veteran defensive help from the FO and our sorry lack of central defensive depth, how much is too much to pay for class? Seeing him against MLS opposition this week should provide a good measure of his worth.
(2) Can Namoff go? If Namoff is healthy, that changes the equation. If McTavish is your first right back option off the bench, do you really need another right back on the senior roster (Vaughn)? That would seem to open the door for either (a) Barklage to get bumped to a senior deal or (b) Woolard to sign on as left back depth (assuming he's not willing to settle for a dev spot). Likewise, the dev roster might have two open spots rather than one for the survivors of the Rice-Adams-Graye battle.
(3) Do we really need both Boyzzz and Shipalane? Both would seem to provide a similar sort of depth on the wings and up top. Might one of them make way for Barklage getting a senior deal?
(4) How far down the depth chart is DiRaimondo? Wasson was his competition for deep-lying midfield depth, but with Simms and Morsink being 1-2, and Szetela and McTavish and maybe Barklage capable of providing cover here, do we really need the likes of DiRaimondo?
(5) How serious are we about Najar? Assuming DiRaimondo is surplus to requirements, Barklage gets a bump, and we carry only two of Rice-Adams-Graye on the dev roster, that leaves another dev spot open. The kid's been called back in for the Cup, which could just be a matter of getting him more exposure... or it could be a test to see if he might be ready to make the jump.
Wonder if we'll ever find out when the roster compliance deadline got pushed back to?