Refining the Roster: Developmental Casualties

Since last we spoke, United's pre-season camp has opened, and we now have a more certain idea of who is in the FO's plans. Most notable is the relatively few developmental players from last year that were invited to pre-season camp. That was always to be expected given the halving of the developmental roster and death of the reserve league, though I wonder if the fact that they didn't even get invites to fight for a spot is an admission that last year's supposed "depth" was anything but.

I'm going to shift the format of these posts slightly and reduce the roster to two sections. Section one is the incomplete 24-man final roster with spots filled by those who seem to me to be "locks" unless they get seriously injured or traded. Though I hesitate to put USL2 imports Khumalo and Janicki in this category, the fact that we signed them and aren't just having them in for trial says they should be here. The second section will be the "questionables"--those who are returning from serious injury, trialists, unsigned draftees, developmental scrappers, etc.

So how do things look?

The (Incomplete) Roster

1. (I) Crayton, GK
2. Wells, GK
3. Janicki, D
4. Namoff, D
5. Burch, D/M
6. Guerrero, D/M
7. McTavish, D/M
8. (I) Fred, M
9. (I) Gallardo, M
10. Simms, M
11. Vide, M
12. Khumalo, M/F
13. Pontius M/F - he signed a pre-draft deal, I'm assuming it's not developmental?
14. Quaranta, M/F
15. (I) Emilio, F
16. Moreno, F
17. (I) Doe, F
21. (D,GA) Wallace, D/M

. . . leaving three senior and three developmental spots to fill, as well as three open international spots for potential additions. Of course, if we can convince more players to accept ridiculous developmental deals, the roster regulations would permit as many as six developmental players, thus reducing the senior roster spots to one. Now on to . . .

The Questionables

1. (I?) Kocic, GK - will he require an international spot? Euro-possible but in camp for now
2. Thorpe, GK - fighting Kocic for the #3 spot?
3. Veris, D - big center back on trial after a stint in the Scandanavian Defender Mines
4. (I) Mystery Foreign Defender, D - as promised by the FO
5. Adams, D - on trial at unknown Euro-club, unwilling to sign a dev deal?
6. Zaher, D - fighting for scraps as fullback depth, Adams in Europe opens the door
7. Miller, D/M - ditto
8. Mediate, D/M - will he be able to earn a senior roster spot?
9. (I) Gonzalo Martinez, D - option not picked up; almost certainly gone, but still on roster
10. Olsen, M - will he be able to beat the injury bug?
11. Barklage, M/F - willing to sign a dev deal? no Cordeiro/Kirk/Thomspon = fighting chance
12. (I) Walter Martinez, M/F - negotiations ongoing for a loan deal

If the decisions were to be made today, I'd guess the developmental spots would be filled by (1) one of Kocic and Thorpe, likely Kocic; (2) one of Adams, Zaher, and Miller, likely Zaher if Adams is gone; and (3) Barklage, absent any other competition. The senior roster spots would be taken by (1) Walter Martinez, assuming we can get the deal done, (2) the Mystery Foreign Defender, and (3) Olsen, assuming his scarred body holds together.

Having said all of that, I assume that more competition will begin arriving shortly for both developmental and senior roster spots, and I'm not 100% convinced that some of the guys I have tentatively listed on the (incomplete) roster are locks to be on this team come First Kick 2009. One saving grace we have this season is that there is no early jump into CONCACAF waters, so we'll have more time to run the rule over players to see how they fit with the team rather than settling on a squad early in order to be ready for competitive matches.


  1. Maybe this is more hopeful than realistic, but I'd like one of the 3 final senior spots to go to Mediate. Assuming he is fully recovered from numerous injuries. With the smaller roster, depth is going to be an issue throughout the season, so it would be nice to have Dom around because he provides coverage at almost any position in the midfield and defense.

  2. Just saw something from Sports Illustrated in my blog feed that we've signed a Brazilian fullback by the name of Roger on a one year deal. He's been a free agent ever since his contract ran out at Fluminese. He hasn't played a match for three months because of a back injury.

    I'm skeptical.

  3. @Shatz I'd say more sentimental than hopeful when it comes to Mediate. You've got to feel for him with the injuries he's been through, but given the numbers game, I just can't see him making the senior roster.

    @QJA Yeah, I saw that too. Great, just what we need, huh? Unless we've got somebody else lined up for central defense, we're in big trouble because this either means we're banking on a short, converted fullback with a questionable injury history filling the void or are going to continue the Burch-to-centerback conversion process and play Roger out wide. Ugh on both counts. I'll see your skepticism and raise you a ruh-roh!

  4. Ya know, as much as I admire Jaime, he wont run to a ball that is not perfectly placed; he's old. Only a starter because our beloved DCU FO wont get young talent! Roger!? WTF!
    Come on DCU there are plenty under 30's out there at reasonable buys. Since when has DCU been a team of past their primers? I demand more from my side. I support DCU because they can win every season barring they waste pay on geezers and gut lords.
    DCU Forever!!!

  5. "Since when has DCU been a team of past their primers?"

    Oh, I don't know--since 2000 or so?

    "I support DCU because they can win every season barring they waste pay on geezers and gut lords."

    Tough to be a bandwagoneer in the face of parity.

    Those points aside, I do agree that we should be after younger players. Seattle grabbed a young, promising centerback (Ianni) for a conditional second or third round pick--why weren't we, a side with no central defense, all over that deal?