On the one hand, you have to admire D.C. United for being extra aggressive in off-season personnel moves, and so early in the process.
And you have to like building around proven MLS men so far (not all of them complete players, some with sure flaws, but all with something offer). That’s something of a departure from the D.C. United way of reaching into foreign lands for something more exotic, something to trumpet as a “foreign find.”
So far the club has attempted to bolster its defense through MLS veteran center back Bobby Boswell, attempted to strengthen the midfield and overall team leadership with MLS veteran Davy Arnaud and attempted to boost the goal scoring with U.S. international Eddie Johnson.
Not bad, really.
But did the club go a step too far today in taking New York striker Fabian Espindola in Stage Two of the league’s re-entry draft?
United made Espindola, up and down last year with New York, the first pick in Wednesday’s Stage Two process.
Espindola was a big piece of some of Real Salt Lake’s successful years. While his role was reduced toward the back half of 2013 under Mike Petke, he finished with 9 goals. That’s not bad, although Kenny Cooper scored 18 the year before in essentially the same role, the “other side of Henry” role. (Espindola’s complete stats are here)
But …! Having an emotional, potentially volatile striker on roster around RFK Stadium is one thing. Having two of them?
What will an Espindola-Johnson pairing look like on the field? More to the point, what will it look like on the practice field, or at halftime of a heated match? We’ll all find out soon enough. We’ll also find out about Ben Olsen’s ability to manage a locker room with strong voices than might not always be pulling in the same direction.
D.C. United has seven days to make a bona fide offer. Even if a salary figure cannot be agreed upon, the club will hold right of first refusal for Espindola (for other MLS clubs).