Scouting done, DC coaches ready to bolster roster

WASHINGTON – Aside from the acquisition of Robbie Russell, it’s been very quiet on the player acquisition front for D.C. United.

Don’t expect that to last too much longer, though, as the club is currently in the process of bolstering their roster after completing a handful of scouting trips early in the offseason.

“We’ve definitely done our due diligence, now it’s about trying to work out deals that are acceptable with both parties,” assistant coach Chad Ashton told MLSsoccer.com. “We’re hoping to have some announcements we can make over the next few weeks. It’s just a matter of those things progressing in the direction we want them to go.”

After the season ended, Ashton traveled to Ghana, head coach Ben Olsen spent time in Switzerland and England, assistant coach Pat Onstad traveled to South America and general manager Dave Kasper attended a scouting combine in Japan.

While Ashton didn’t give any hints as to the players’ identities or exactly how many are currently being targeted, he said that there’s a “50-50” chance that at least one could be completed and announced before the end of 2011.

Earlier this week, D.C. bypassed the opportunity to add a player in the Re-Entry Draft, a process that landed them Joe Ngwenya and Josh Wolff in 2010. Part of the reason United passed in both rounds was to offer flexibility for future acquisitions.

“When you have other things on the table that you’re trying to negotiate with players – with our scouting trips, things of that nature – and you don’t know how those things are going to play out, it’s difficult to make moves within the Re-Entry Draft,” Ashton said. “You don’t want to strap yourself financially and not be able to do something further down the line.

“We definitely gave some players some thought, and we discussed it. At the end of the day, we decided to pass.”

That’s not to say some of the remaining available players won’t get a look from D.C. a bit further down the road.

“There’s still is a guy or two on that list that I think we have some interest in and may at some point still try and negotiate with those guys,” Ashton said.

Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.