One of the main things that is still with me after the game against the New England Revolution isn’t the missed handball call, or the questionable penalty, or Jakovic being Jakovic. These sorts of things are going to happen with a young team, and I was glad that they did not crumble at the sight of going down 2-0. Especially when Charlie Davies came in, there was still fight in this team, and I would expect nothing less from a Ben Olsen coached team. There will be more games like this, and probably more tough games coming up soon, but hopefully this experience will build up some toughness that United can draw on later in the season.
But the thought that has stuck with me is how long will Branko Boskovic be on DC United? He was brought in under the previous regime, under Curt Onalfo, and even when Onalfo was coach he has struggled to find his place in the team. He was brought into United to be the creative playmaker in the middle that United has always had, even though he plays as a left midfielder for the national team that he captains. After struggling through last year, many thought that a full offseason would allow him to blossom into the type of player you expect when you pay designated player money. He has looked good in the reserve league so far, as a designated player should, but apparently he does not fit into Ben Olsen’s plans.
Chris Pontius has beat him out for the starting left midfield role. And the game against the Revolution seemed to show that both Fred and Santino Quaranta are ahead of Boskovic on the depth chart. With all of that, will Boskovic be feeling the pressure, from himself and from his national teammates, to try to get a loan somewhere before their June 4 match against Bulgaria so he can be match fit to captain their team? Montenegro is currently tied on points with England atop group G in Euro 2012 qualifying, with four matches still left to play. They have already tied England at Wembley and they are far above Wales and Bulgaria in the FIFA rankings. It looks like Montenegro has a solid chance to at least get to the two-legged playoff for a spot in Euro 2012 proper. If Boskovic is not getting the playing time here that he thought his designated player status would afford him, you have to think he is going to try and get a loan to somewhere that he can play.
Moreover, it is probably in United’s best interest to get at least some money back for Boskovic over the course of the season. I think that, for many teams in MLS, Boskovic could be a good starter. But United already has its one year difference maker: Charlie Davies. Boskovic was brought in, with Pablo Hernandez, as sort of a last gasp effort by Onalfo and the front office to turn last season around. Now that Ben Olsen is in charge and is leading the youth movement, Boskovic is without a place on this team. If he can find a place in this team and be a solid contributor, I would be all for it; but if United could get a quarter, a third, or even half of Boskovic’s salary loaning him back to Rapid Wien, a club in Montengro, or wherever he thinks he can get playing time, I think the club should do it. It would be a classy move to let him get fit for his national team and it would recover at least a bit of the sunk cost United has already put in, especially if the coaching staff and front office know that he does not play into their future plans.