Tampa Bay Sports Day

Perkins re-acquisition could be bittersweet for United

Troy Perkins (Source:Wikipedia)

The biggest change that D.C. United has had in the past month would have to be the hiring of Curt Onalfo. By now every D.C. United fan should know his coaching experience and his plan to change D.C. United. Onalfo comes with the risk that accompanies any coach with a mediocre record, but seems, at least so far, to fit just fine here. He wasn’t the first choice for the job and fans remain skeptical on why that is, but hey, Caleb Porter has only been a head coach for one year. Onalfo seems very focused on bringing D.C. to the top, something former coach Tom Soehn didn’t seem determined to do. He promises to bring change to D.C. and it shows with his plan to switch from the dreaded 3-5-2 formation to the more standard 4-4-2 formation.

He also brought back fan favorite goalkeeper Troy Perkins, arguably the third best U.S. goalkeeper at present. This looks great on paper and D.C. needed a goalkeeper, but the acquisition will be bittersweet for D.C. Perkins is likely to be called up to the national team in the summer and United probably won’t have a steady back-up to take his place. Josh Wicks is predicted to be out the door by then, Milos Kocic needs to develop and Bill Hamid probably doesn’t want to turn into the next Freddy Adu by starting this soon in his career.

Another issue of this signing is the loss of that desperately needed first round pick and attack-minded Fred. Fred has been inconsistent recently, so its no surprise he’s gone to Philly, but United needs a striker. Badly. The best option up front is ladies’ favorite Chris Pontius and veteran Jaime Moreno. Pontuis is solid, but Moreno has lost stamina as he’s gotten older. United needs a striker to pick up when Moreno can’t play and the only other forward listed on DC’s roster is Boyzzz Khumalo, who despite his improvement, doesn’t seem ready for a first string roster spot. Solution? MLS SuperDraft. Problem? United only got two draft picks and they traded the first rounder to Philadelphia. The other draft pick, a boring fourth rounder, was used to get Jordan Graye. Graye is an outside defender, but I doubt he’s going to become an instant starter. He may become the next Jonathan Bornstein (another fourth rounder) or the next Tim Merritt (also a fourth rounder)… but hopefully Bornstein.

However, despite all this, I think this is a boost for D.C. United because it shows Onalfo is truly trying to make the team stronger. Morale is way up for DC fans.

So what should the new coach do now? First solve defensive issues. Is Avery John, Julius James, David Habarugira, or Lawson Vaughn ready to step up for a starting spot? If a new defender is needed to help the defense, so be it. Next issue? Find a solid striker to complement Pontuis up front. Anything else? Maybe solve the center midfield concern. Are Christian Gomez and Clyde Simms starting or will benchwarmer John DiRaimondo get his moment to swim-or-sink? Could Rodney Wallace be the answer to any of problems? How about the goalkeeper backup situation? Wicks looks like the man right now, but he’s lost considerable trust from the fans due to certain events of which I don’t want to write about. If not Kocic needs to step up. Onalfo and the rest of the D.C. United staff have the money to solve these problems with the money from Luciano Emilio’s departure.

As of now, this would be what I think the D.C. United starting line-up should look like:

Perkins

Namoff – James – Jakovic – Burch/Wallace

Quaranta – Simms – Wallace/Gomez – Castillo

Moreno – Pontius

What do you think of the Perkins trade? Vote in the poll!