Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Preseason Look: DC United

Ben Olsen and his merry brigade of nobody over in DC have turned themselves into a sort of free electron. Not bound by any universal rules or fear of failure.

DC's starting lineup is surprisingly strong, right there with the NY Red Bulls in the 3rd spot. Look beyond that, however, and you see the differences. DC has no bench. In fact, they only have 19 players on their roster. It's almost as if Olsen is checking off 11 spots and letting someone else worry about the rest.

Player Ratings (avg) TransferMarkt Value (000)
TeamStartersBench Starters Bench
1ATL70.965.9 $ 52,497 $ 6,067
2TFC70.565.7 $ 25,027 $ 4,315
3DCU69.756.6 $ 21,934 $ 2,990
4NYR69.764.9 $ 20,192 $ 3,745
5CLB69.366.2 $ 24,671 $ 4,180
6NER68.764.5 $ 13,278 $ 5,115
7PHI68.256.5 $ 9,933 $ 5,529
8CHI67.863.7 $ 17,022 $ 3,955
9FCC67.564.7 $ 11,014 $ 4,383
10ORL67.262.2 $ 10,365 $ 3,309 

Regardless, they are only really missing one starting role - right back.

79Wayne RooneyCentre-Forward798075
73Luciano AcostaAttacking Midfield707773
72Russell CanouseCentral Midfield727270
71Paul ArriolaRight Midfield717269
70Lucas RodríguezAttacking Midfield707469
70Bill HamidGoalkeeper697370
70Steven BirnbaumCentre-Back687070
69David OustedGoalkeeper697065
69Frédéric BrillantCentre-Back696669
68Zoltán StieberLeft Winger687168
67Joseph MoraLeft-Back646767
67Junior MorenoDefensive Midfield676867
66Chris DurkinDefensive Midfield566766
66Ulises SeguraAttacking Midfield666766
65Earl Edwards Jr.Goalkeeper656165
63Chris SeitzGoalkeeper636763
62Jalen RobinsonCentre-Back626165
60Chris Odoi-AtsemRight-Back576063
0Akeem WardDefender000

It's not particularly a problem to have a short roster. MLS is obsessed with roster rules. In the past it was "you must have 30 players," but now that the league is expanding, they have limited it to 28. Many teams regularly dip below that these days.

DC's starting eleven is loaded. Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola are players that could start on any MLS side. Steve Birnbaum, Frederic Billant and Bill Hamid are solid MLS starters. Color me a little surprised that DC has this strong a gameday roster.

Problems arise at depth, however. There's nothing behind those players to round out a long MLS season. If they can keep it together, they should be fine.

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