Roster Reset | When What To My Wondering Eyes...

...should appear, but a possible Mivdun and eight tiny reindeer... defenders... whatever. And I guess the tiny part went out with 5'8" Shintaro Harada (5'8" center back? Smacks of a little desperation, doesn't it?). Hmmm, so the metaphor's a bit strained, but the larger point is that the biggest problem I can see with the current roster appears to be being addressed: the depth and quality in defense.

Three new trialists joined United in Mexico: Daniel Woolard, former Fire utility defender (but mostly left back); the long-rumored Jermaine Taylor, a Jamaican center back; and, most intriguingly, Juan Manuel Pena, sailing past 35 and on his way to 40, but vastly experienced for club and country (Bolivia). At 37, does he have the legs to compete in MLS? If so, a seasoned veteran would provided a solid foil for either the talented but often-indisciplined Jakovic or the bruising physicality of James. Of course, that reads a lot into this situation. He was playing at a relatively high level in the recent past, but who knows if this is little more than a courtesy extended to his old pal, Moreno?

I just hope this flurry of defender-invites wasn't prompted solely by Burch's injury. To the list!

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.  Jordan Graye, D
3.  Brandon Barklage, M
4.  John DiRaimondo, M

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, awaiting judgement after his trial 
4. (I) Juan Manuel Pena, D - 37 year-old Bolivian auditions for Mivdun role
5. Barry Rice, D - Can't get enough of your love, babe?
6. (I) Jermaine Taylor, D - Jamaican international center back, now on trial
7. Daniel Woolard, D - buried in Chicago's depth, but we're in need of a left back
8. Daniel Wasson, M - washed out abroad, has MLS experience with Colorado
9. 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]

The expectation here is that N'Galula's dismissal was prompted not just by the availability of a cheaper alternative in Morsink, but because we needed that international spot to land another center back to pad the terrifyingly thin numbers currently available (McTavish is your #3? Ruh-roh!). Having run the rule over Arzu, the FO now gets a solid look at Pena and Taylor. One of those three would have to be your bet to join Jakovic and James, though not putting an immediate bid in for Arzu, as previously mentioned, makes it look like he's a long-shot.

The addition of Woolard to camp is almost certainly caused by Burch going down. What depth do we have at left back otherwise? Wallace. Possibly Graye. Maybe Adams if we land him. Though I think Wallace is the long-term solution there, neither of those other options is a proven quantity. At least Woolard has shown that he can play at this level (and did a passable job for me once in FM; not that that counts for anything save goodwill on my part ;-).

That said, we have precious few spots available on the roster. None, in fact, unless you're going to do some pruning of the existing group. You'd think that the most vulnerable at the moment would be Shipalane, Khumalo, McTavish, and Vaughn, though the latter two are both cover at right back until Namoff returns (fingers crossed). Unless one of the trialist fullbacks proves more capable than one of them, I'm not sure you can dismiss either comfortably.

Good thing roster deadline day got extended, hmmm?


  1. I'm anxious to see if Pena pans out or not. He could help us right away if he is still fit. His obvious wealth of experience is something that we sourly lack in the back, and he could really be a solid 1-2 year stopgap if he still has some life in the legs. If not, then I'd like to see Jermaine Taylor given a spot for the start of the season. He is a young, CONCAFCA experienced defender after all, and if we started last season with Anthony Peters making the team, then why can't Taylor get a shot as well?

    And with only 1 spot up for grabs seemingly between Graye, Woolard, Rice, Wasson, and Adams(though I feel that Adams won't take dev dollars based on last year, making him direct competition for Vaughn), it makes me wonder just how secure Diraimondo's roster spot is, as we have depth in CM(6 players roughly that are capable in the middle, albeit not quality ones).

    I also don't see Shipalane making it thru camp without being cut. We def have room for a project or 2, I'm just not sure if he is one of them. I'm pulling for him though.

  2. Yup, that's pretty much how I see it. Don't know why I left DiRaimondo out of my "in danger" list, though he's always been there. I wasn't impressed at all with his Fred-like, giveaway-machine play last year in the CCL. And it's not like he makes up for it with size, physicality, grit, or energy. A healthy Barklage should make him more than expendable.

    I still think we'll see Burch on the inactive roster to start the season (he'll be out more than 6 games, making him eligible for the short-term injury list, and we have the cap space), so that gives us one more senior spot. Assuming we fill it with a Mivdun (Taylor or Pena), that still leaves us with some flexibility if a trialist demonstrates that he's more worthy of a senior roster spot than Shipalane.

  3. Honestly, don't know that much about any of these defenders. I do know that it's insane to make Barklage Developmental when he certainly is more talented than several on the senior roster, ages and definitions not withstanding.

  4. Barklage could always get promoted to the senior roster during the year, a la Joe Vide a couple seasons ago...

    FB- I forgot to mention the Burch injury, but I believe that will happen as well... I really don't see much in DiRaimondo, but it really seems as though Wasson has done nothing, according to all the various preseason game reports, to prove that he'd be any better...

    A couple of thoughts-
    1: I have to think that Adams will be given every chance to make this team, as DC had to be happy to see a once lost 2nd round pick walk into training camp, though if Graye can offer all that Adams can for a lesser cost, than where does a spot for Woolard come from? I'd say he is Vaughn's competition, but they play on opposite sides of the pitch.

    2: I feel McTavish's versatility makes him safe from any training camp cuts...

    3: Where does Danny Szetela fit into all this once he is healthy? To me, he is still the wildcard in midfield, and may be the one person on our roster more than any other that just needs to get minutes and play...