In a recent episode of The Best Soccer Show, Jason and Jared lamented the fact that there was no time to properly digest and reflect on the accomplishment of the LA Galaxy, to put them into historical context, and really look back upon the season that was. For those of us who are fans of teams that didn’t win the MLS Cup, however, it allows us to move forward with the shiny optimism that a new season brings. And while there were no DC United players taken in the expansion draft (the most likely scenario all along), the offseason has kicked into high gear this week.
We learned today that United has decided not to review the contracts of Clyde Simms, Santino Quaranta, Steve Cronin, Jed Zayner, Brandon Barklage, Joseph Ngwenya, Marc Burch, Devon McTavish, and Kurt Morsink. The fact that Burch and Ngwenya will likely not be on the team next year is music to the ears of most fans. McTavish, Barklage, and Zayner are all recovering from severe injuries that have limited throughout the season and are not likely to be contributors going forward. Morsink and Cronin simple are not MLS level players at this point; they would probably be served better with a move to NASL. None of the first seven cuts are really that surprising.
However, the fact that both Santino Quaranta and Clyde Simms will likely be gone next season is a bit of a surprise. Unless I’ve miscalculated, the longest tenured players on the team will now be Dejan Jakovic and Chris Pontius. With Quaranta and Simms, it comes down to economics. Simms lost his spot to Perry Kitchen, and $180k is far too much for a backup. For Quaranta, a player making 110k per year cannot be a sub (at least not for a team like DCU), no matter how super he is. Were he making 68k, Quaranta would still be on this team. Although Goff has now just posted that DCU did not try to negotiate ‘Tino’s contract to a more reasonable number. If true, that is crappy on their part: Quaranta has been a model United player and keeping him at a reasonable number would be useful. Still, another sign that Olsen is breaking from the past and remaking the team the way he wants to make it.
With a third of the team about to leave, though, some replacements are obviously necessary. The first major addition this offseason has been the trade for Robbie Russell, right back from Real Salt Lake. United’s fullbacks have definitely needed an upgrade, a Russell is a solid defender with championship experience. Also, Dave Kasper said today that they anticipate they will be able to announce “additional acquisitions in the next several weeks.” Sounds like some overseas signings to me. Let’s hope that they work out better than recent ones.