In Part I of this series, I made my way though the first third of United’s roster, tagging and releasing, identifying those to PROTECT, those to EXPOSE, those on the BUBBLE, and those N/As the FO didn’t have to make a call on. Moving on to the second third of the roster…
JAKOVIC, Dejan (D, 26) - Go ahead, dive into the archives. I made no secret of my admiration for Jakovic when he first arrived. Good feet, imperious advances with the ball from the back line, pickpocket tackles in critical spots. Damn those frequent brain-farts, but what’s not to love? Still, three seasons on he hasn’t really improved much and is often injured. Sure, the defense is more solid when he’s in it, but he’s not an automatic lock for protection like he was. That said, he’s Canadian, and Montreal would likely bite our arm off if he’s left exposed, and the rules require protecting one of our two internationals. PROTECT
KING, Stephen (M, 25) - Adequate as cover and does a fair job as a two-way midfielder (sans the ability to finish chances, though he does get in spots to try), but doesn’t bring enough to the table to make him so valuable that he must be protected. BUBBLE
KITCHEN, Perry (D/M, 19) - Versatile, young, talented, leader. Late showings in midfield were tantalizing. PROTECT without question.
KORB, Chris (D, 24) - Suspect positioning and aerial ability. Marginal going forward. Depth at best and little risk of losing him if unprotected. EXPOSE
MCDONALD, Brandon (D/M, 25) - Solid pro, but not sold on him as a center back as he makes too many dumb decisions and is often caught out of position. As a d-mid? Maybe useful, but I think Kitchen is the future there, so unless Benny has plans to introduce the bucket, I stick McDonald on the BUBBLE for now.
MCTAVISH, Devon (D/M, 27) - Yeah, yeah, he’s a good guy and can kinda fill a number of holes when he isn’t injured. Enough already. Somebody has to be ruthless with the dead wood. EXPOSE
MORSINK, Kurt (M, 27) - He’s still on this team? Why? EXPOSE
NAJAR, Andy (M, 18) - If he wasn’t home grown he’d be a no-brainer to protect. As it stands, N/A.
NGWENYA, Joseph (F, 30) - Even if he had managed to contribute this season(0 goals, 0 assists), the pathetic lack of effort with the goal at his mercy and United’s playoff lives in the balance means there can be only one choice here. EXPOSE
So that gets us two-thirds of the way through the roster. With just nine players left to evaluate, our categories thus far are:
- PROTECT: De Rosario, Jakovic, Kitchen
- EXPOSE: Barklage, Burch, Cronin, Davies, Korb, McTavish, Morsink, Ngwenya
- BUBBLE: Boskovic, Brettschneider, Da Luz, King, McDonald
- N/A: Hamid, Najar
Ouch. Only three definite PROTECTs and five BUBBLEs out of eighteen examined thus far. Bit harsh on my part? Perhaps. I suppose the fact that those two N/As would be protected if they had to be swings the balance a little bit. Still, unless that final third is packed with talent (and it isn’t), there really isn’t going to be much wringing of hands about who makes the list and who doesn’t, is there?