24 Under 24: #3 Andy Najar, DC United
|Tale of the Tape|
|Matches played: 23|
|Matches started: 20|
#3. Andy Najar
Pos: M | D.C. United | Age: 18
The MLS version of “The Decision” took place in April when reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar promised to give his final word on the country he would represent on the international level between the USA and his native Honduras. It was a tug-of-war that played out in the press and a distraction which led to his benching in April, the only memorable down moment of a two-year professional career that has proven remarkably steady. The consistency Najar has demonstrated on the right flank for D.C. United — he repeats at No. 3 in the 24 Under 24 — has been unexpected for an 18-year-old with little experience in organized soccer before moving to the USA with his family. With the first appearance with Honduras out of the way, Najar has been able to concentrate on his club team and D.C. United will need even more production from him as they look to make up for the loss of Chris Pontius and advance to the postseason.
What the TDs and coaches say: “Think he has 'it' … At 18, the competitiveness he has on the field is tremendous … Excellent soccer player with very good speed but also very importantly, very good quickness … Excellent on the dribble and great passer of the ball … He really has dynamic runs off the ball. A lot of players don’t run off the ball but he runs off the ball quite well … Two-way player who works awfully hard in the attack and works hard on the defensive side of the ball … His transitional moments offensively and defensively are incredibly aggressive … He’s a player with great enthusiasm and courage and a difference maker … He needs to continue to improve on taking pressure off his teammates by penetrating with authority and getting behind defenders and having the confidence to take people on one-v-one and having more success … I’d like to see the kid get his US citizenship.”