Here is a look at the updated roster, major story lines, and predictions for the upcoming season for DC United ahead of the 2017 campaign.
Recap of 2016
DC United kicked off the 2016 with mediocre results, struggling to find chemistry, and barely grinding out wins, more often than not losing or fighting for a draw. After bold offseason moves to trade out #10 Fabian Espindola and acquire Lloyd Sam and Patrick Mullins, the team began to find a strong form.
Finishing the season strong with 31 goals in its last 12 matches, DC looked like a real contender for the MLS Cup, but was quickly dispatched in the first playoff game against the Montreal Impact.
Finishing Position: 4th in Eastern Conference
Post-season: Lost to Montreal in Knockoff Round of Playoffs
After flaming out in the post-season, Head Coach Ben Olsen declared his plan to retain the majority of his starting XI, to strengthen the core and depth of the team, and improve on 2016’s results with this squad.
DC United has done just that, retaining stars Bill Hamid, purchasing Acosta out of his loan, and offering a new contract to keep both Steve Birnbaum and Patrick Mullins with the team long term.
- Miguel Aguilar (To LA Galaxy for MLS Superdraft Pick)
- Kennedy Igboananike (To Portland for MLS Superdraft Pick)
- Chris Korb (released)
- Andrew Dykstra (released)
- Alvaro Saborio (released)
- Luke Mishu (Retired)
- Collin Martin (To Minnesota for MLS Superdraft Pick)
- José Guillermo Ortiz (On loan from CS Herediano)
- Chris Odoi-Atsem (SuperDraft)
- Eric Klenofsky (SuperDraft)
- Ian Harkes (Homegrown player)
- Sebastian LeToux (Free Agent Signing)
- Maxim Tissot (Recently signed)
Predicted Starting XI for Opening Weekend
While incredible depth has been introduced to this DC United squad, I don’t see much changing on the opening weekend, with the exception of introducing Ian Harkes to DC United fans at home in the Season Opener.
Otherwise, players throughout the squad now know that their places are under fire, as new blood is developing to push everyone to earn their starting spot.
This backline in particular is looking to change as the season progresses, since Boswell has begun to show signs of wear and tear, with Franklin declaring he’d like to share minutes at CB with Boswell.
This opens up the RB position for Nick Deleon to start, though Odoi-Atsem (SuperDraft Rookie), will also be contending for a starting spot. Tissot, will be sharing minutes with Kemp, as well while also competing for a spot on the left wing.
Depth is an incredible story for this MLS team. Take a look at what the second string currently would look like below:
All of these players would be strong contenders for a starting spot on this team, or really most MLS teams. When other teams may suffer from multiple games in a week, this is a team which should be comfortable to rotate players while also pushing each other. With the Open Cup also on the horizon, this second string team is likely to do very well, if not push for the title.
DC United is entering 2017 with experienced veterans, young homegrown players with a lot to prove, and electric young players leaving their mark on the league. With depth at every position and players challenging each other for starting spots, this team is aiming for more than an MLS Playoff position, but likely the title.
Finishing Position: 1st in the Eastern Conference