What I Want For Christmas | Part II

In the first part of this series, we ran the rule over the current United roster. In this second part, we’ll compile a list of wants by position, setting us up for the grand finale, where we put those wants in order…

Would you trust this man with your roster?


Needs: Hamid and Willis are solid in the first two spots on the depth chart, so there shouldn’t be much work to do here.

Targets: If there’s a solid keeper available in the draft, nab him if he’s the best player available with that pick. Otherwise, bring in a few undrafted or unattached young keepers for pre-season and see which one is left standing.

Priority: Low.


Needs: A starting quality left back. Given the tendency of the likely left-wing starter (Pontius) to drift inside and get the ball on his right and Russell’s generally stay-at-home tendency at right back1, the ideal candidate would provide a quality, quick overlapping option down the left flank. Depth, preferably experienced, in the middle is a secondary concern, with the starry-eyed optimist also entertaining a potential challenger for Jakovic/McDonald for starting minutes2.

Targets: There are some fair, though not outstanding, options around the league at left back, but I don’t see what we have in trade value to get them outside of draft picks and allocation money3. I’ll make the charitable assumption that we’re looking for outside-the-league help while simultaneously fretting that the braintrust are content with Woolard as the starter. Central depth is likely available through negotiations with those on the current MLS scrap-heap (if we get there first – given our slow movement thus far, that’s in severe doubt) or via the youth route (draft/academy).

Priority: A starting left back would be near the top of my list; is it near the top of the FO’s? Central depth is a middling concern, alleviated somewhat by Russell’s versatility and the presence of the promising White.


Needs: I would assume the starting quartet to be set with Pontius, Boskovic/De Rosario, Kitchen, and Najar. If we go to a five, De Rosario is the fifth floating atop it. Depth is a concern at d-mid and on the right flank.

Targets: How long will United be able to keep hold of Najar and Kitchen? I would assume they will both remain in D.C. for this season, but both will also miss time with their national and/or U-23 national teams, and, though planning for the long-term isn’t really an option in MLS, we should be looking at options for their eventual replacement whether this be through the draft, the academy, or acquisition from abroad.

Priority: High, but not yet desperate. I’ll be interested to see what the FO comes up with as an alternative to some of the long-serving players that could have served in these capacities.


Needs: Assuming that De Rosario will be playing the trequartista role between forward and midfield, we’re still short a starting forward as Wolff is no lone striker candidate and, and, while Brettscheider can fill the role, he’s not proven as deadly in front of the net in the regular season as he did last pre-season.

Targets: If we’re not actively pursuing a starting-caliber forward, I’m pretty much ready to give this team up for dead in 2012 already. Given that the FO ignored Jacqua in the Re-Entry draft, I’d argue that Benny wants a quick poacher whose running pushes defenses back and opens space for De Rosario to weave his magic in4 rather than a bruising target-man. Wolff and Brettschneider are adequate depth, but maybe another, different style option (a speed merchant, perhaps?), would not go amiss.

Priority: I think the first sentence of the “Targets” section pretty much laid out how big a priority I think a starter is. Depth? Not so much, but also not off the table completely.

So that leaves us with the following list of wants, in no particular order:

  • third-string keeper
  • starting left back
  • central defensive depth
  • d-mid cover
  • right mid/wing cover
  • starting forward
  • forward depth

That’s a lot of boxes to check over the next month or so, particularly given the not-exactly-inspiring “50-50 chance that at least one [player acquisition] could be completed and announced before the end of 2011.”5 In part three, we’ll take that list and prioritize it.

  1. Yes, he can cross and get forward, but he’s a defense-first option at fullback. ↩

  2. Perhaps that’s White. I still think he needs seasoning, but maybe he’ll surprise. ↩

  3. Assuming, considering how precious little depth we have remaining, that you’re not going to create a hole elsewhere by trading away any current players. ↩

  4. Assuming, considering how precious little depth we have remaining, that you’re not going to create a hole elsewhere by trading away any current players. ↩

  5. Noting that the optimist reads this as “we’ve got targets who can’t move until the transfer window opens in the new year.” ↩


  1. Given need #5, I find the departure of Quaranta weird. I'd more or less given up on him as a starter, but I would have said he's above-average MLS depth, and that (roughly, especially if you assume he would have taken a slight pay cut?) $100k isn't too much to pay for above-average depth.

    Maybe there's back-story there that either I haven't heard or hasn't been made public?

  2. My thoughts exactly. Thus the "I’ll be interested to see what the FO comes up with as an alternative to some of the long-serving players that could have served in these capacities."

  3. Yeah, I figured that you weren't talking about Burch. (The fact that they finally got rid of Burch gives me more hope about 2012 than any signing this side of Leo Messi could.)

    More interested in the second part of my comment -- what's the story and/or reasoning behind Quaranta's departure? Surely it's something more than "we thought he wasn't of any use", right?