Roster Reset | We're Off To Be The Wizards

Now granted, coaches have favorites that they can drag with them from club to club; witness Harry Redknapp for a prime example of the species. But generally, said coaches are dragging quality with them from job to job. Do Adam Cristman and Kurt Morsink appear under anyone's definition of quality?

Maybe, if the quality you're looking for is "scrappy." But therein lies what might be an unlooked-for silver lining. United's gap-fillers, for want of a better term, have tended towards the Jacobson and Dyachenko end of the spectrum, players who demonstrate fleeting glimpses of class but aren't "leave it all on the field" types, something we're going to need without Ben Olsen in the fold, and something you're certainly looking for when you throw a guy on the field in the dog days of summer looking to grind out a result.  

It sure ain't sexy, but that's a whole other style vs. results debate waiting to be had (and have it, I'm sure we will, based on the trend towards grit and mediocrity that has kicked off the the Onalfo era). To the updated list, my friends...

Senior Roster
1.  Josh Wicks, GK
2.  Troy Perkins, GK
3.  (I) Julius James, D
4.  Lawson Vaughn, D
5.  Marc Burch, D
6.  (I) Dejan Jakovic, D
7.  Bryan Namoff, D
8.  Devon McTavish, D/M
9.  Rodney Wallace, D/M
10.  (I) Cristian Castillo, M
11.  Kurt Morsink, M
12.  Danny Szetela, M
13.  Clyde Simms, M
14.  (I) Tiyiselani Shipalane, M/F
15.  Chris Pontius, M/F
16.  Santino Quaranta, M/F
17.  (I) Thabiso Khumalo, M/F
18.  Adam Cristman, F
19.  Jaime Moreno, F
20.  (I) Danny Allsopp, F

Developmental Roster
1.  (GA) Bill Hamid, GK
2.  John DiRaimondo, M
3.  Brandon Barklage, M
4.  Jordan Graye, D

1. Andrew Quinn, GK - haven't heard he was dismissed yet, but was he ever official on trial?
2. (I?) Lyle Adams, D - I'm assuming he'll want a senior spot, given last year. Also, he grew up in Florida, but does he have citizenship/green card?
3. (I) Quiarol Arzu, D - Honduran youth national teamer, center or right back, awaiting judgement after his trial
4. Barry Rice, D - Can't get enough of your love, babe?
5. (I) Jermaine Taylor, D - Jamaican international center back, will he be fit in time for a trial?
6. (I) Shintaro Harada, D/M - CP Baltimore star could provide depth in defense and midfield
7. Daniel Wasson, M - washed out abroad, has MLS experience, eligible for Dev Dollars (25 or younger at start of season)
8. Andy Najar, M/F - DCU academy product, probably not really on trial

GA = Generation Adidas
I = requires international roster spot, maximum of 8 internationals on final roster [Cristman trade leaves us with 7 spots]

So the word that we get from the FO about the straight swap of Morsink for N'Galula is that Morsink is a "less expensive option" that can cut the same mustard. But the more important consideration is that we're now officially below our international roster limit again. Sure, we needed to waive N'Galula to clear a senior roster spot in order to land Morsink, but I'm going to bet that has no small amount to do with the long-term Burch injury.

Prediction? Burch goes on the inactive list until summer, freeing us to add the central defensive depth (Taylor, Arzu, Harada?) to the senior roster that the FO for some insane reason thought that he would be providing. That still leaves us a center back short (unless the FO is putting faith in McTavish--again with the insanity), but that's where somebody like Barry Rice on Dev Dollars might come in handy. It's not ideal; I would have liked a higher level of competition for James to partner Jakovic, but maybe we just don't like what's on offer and are waiting until summer to make the big splash (here's hoping).


  1. Some really good observations here.

    On our new "gap-fillers", I think you've hit the nail on the head. One of the things everyone in MLS knew was that, for the most part, our teams were soft. Take away Olsen and Namoff, and there was a lack of real fight in the team (people should not mistake Fred's propensity to foul, or Burch's love of the "send me off, please!" lunging tackle, for fight, heart, or grit). Morsink and Cristman have flaws, but they're fighters. Between that and the likely switch to the flat 442, I have some hopes that we will improve our goals against. I'm not saying we'll be better in the back (like you point out, our 3rd best healthy center back is McTavish, which is terrifying), but we will be harder to break down as a unit of 11 players. Perkins also helps a great deal with that, but my point is that we'll be, to borrow Soehn's phrasing, harder to beat.

    You're also right about style. This doesn't look like it will be a particularly stylish team, at least by our standards. Any team with Moreno regularly playing will have some panache, but this isn't going to be one of our envy-of-MLS teams (no matter how the results go). I don't think we're actually going to be ugly, but it is going to be a step back in terms of entertaining soccer. This could change with the signing of a classy attacking midfielder, but that seems highly unlikely for the first half of the season.

  2. Having a settled, non-certifiable netminder behind the back four should also help shore things up defensively.

    As long as we move the ball well, I'm not that concerned about a lack of personal flair and trickery. When Onalfo first took over in KC, there was a lot about their quick, direct (bit not long-ball, hoof it and run) style that appealed to me. Of course, those teams had their defensive issues as well, if I'm remembering correctly, so we shall see.