You get the feeling D.C. United fans cannot quite sort out whether Linoard Pajoy hitting for two goals in a preseason friendly is a good or bad thing. He struck twice on Saturday as United prevailed easily (4-0) over North American Soccer League champion Tampa Bay in the ongoing Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
It’s not that Pajoy doesn’t have some use around RFK Stadium for Ben Olsen this year. It’s just that his imprecise finishing leaves fans feeling somewhat conflicted.
What’s easy to like is the Colombian forward’s work rate, his ability to be a real bother as teams attempt to move the ball out of the back. And his ability to be effective as a hold-up forward can give Olsen a different look when needed.
But “diligent toil” can only go so far in establishing a forward’s value, as we all know. At some point, it’s about bottom-line production for strikers. Three goals and an assist in 12 matches? Meh.
Plus, it didn’t help that Pajoy arrived from Philadelphia for Danny Cruz, a hard-worker himself from the flanks, and a popular man around RFK.
This looked quite a bit like Olsen’s first-choice lineup, minus Chris Pontius, and with someone other than Nane (a trialist) alongside Perry Kitchen in the midfield.
So seeing Pajoy have a good afternoon – against a second-tier side without its top men, it should be said – as a starter alongside Dwayne De Rosario at striker might put United fans at ill ease. They may begin to wonder if Olsen and upper management will decide he is the first-choice striker.
Some would see that as settling.