This week, D.C. United signed Bill Hamid to a permanent to deal and agreed to a two-year contract with Frederic Brillant. They are protecting their strength, which is just smart team building.
In the parity-obsessed league that is Major League Soccer, it can be extremely difficult for teams to replicate their strengths year on year. With salary caps and roster designations restricting the investments that teams can make in their players, there is an equal limitation placed on their ability to keep their talent.
But as teams looks to sustain their success, year on year, there is an increasing need to protect the positions that they are strong in while investing in their weaknesses. For D.C. United, that is the defence.
Ben Olsen’s team were excellent at the back last season, conceding just 38 goals across the campaign, the second-best figure in MLS behind only Los Angeles FC. While their offensive firepower let the team down at crucial moments down the stretch and in the playoffs, their defence was superb throughout the entire season.
As they prepare for the 2020 season, then, D.C. United have a clear target for the offseason to come: to proect their defence before investing in attacking positions. So that is precisely what they have done.
This week, D.C. United completed two crucial signings to sustain their defensive excellence in 2019. Centre-back Frederic Brillant was re-signed to a two-year contract extension. What VP of soccer operations Dave Kasper said of the move was extremely telling of D.C.’s plans for this critical offseason:
"“One of our focuses this off-season was bringing back the backline that performed so well in 2019. Frederic was a main component of the defense that conceded the second-fewest goals in the league last season and we’re excited to retain him for the 2020 season and beyond.”"
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And then Bill Hamid arrived on a permanent deal after a very successful 18-month loan in D.C., costing around $750,000 in a transfer fee using Target Allocation Money. Kasper echoed the same sentiment of bringing back players who were central to the team’s success last year and building the future of the team around them:
"“Bringing Bill back to the club in 2020 and beyond was a top priority for us this offseason. Bill is a leader on and off the field and we’re excited to bring him back to the club that he has worked tirelessly for over the last ten seasons. He is among the best goalkeepers in MLS and and he resonates with fans and the community, and we know he is going to be an important piece at the club for the foreseeable future.”"
Hamid and Brillant were undoubtedly two of the premier players at their respective positions in MLS last season. They were central to D.C. United’s defensive excellence and are obviously viewed as critical pieces for Olsen moving forward. Re-signing them, then, simply makes sense.
For D.C. United to improve, they must first consolidate where they are strong. In re-signing Hamid and Brillant, that is precisely what they have done.