Fabian Espindola feeling "very comfortable" with potential Eddie Johnson partnership up top
WASHINGTON – It's been a hectic few days for Fabián Espíndola.
The Argentinian forward arrived in the District of Columbia on Sunday evening, slept a few hours, and headed straight to D.C. United's first training session of the preseason the following morning. As he took a seat in the lower-level media room at RFK Stadium afterwards, it didn't take him long to offer up his first impression of his new home.
"Man, it's cold here," he said.
Espíndola will look to warm up a D.C. United offense that spent all of 2013 in a deep freeze. He's widely expected to partner with fellow newcomer Eddie Johnson, with the hope being that they can provide United with the offensive punch they so sorely lack. The two combined for 18 goals last year – nearly as many as the 22 that United's entire squad put away during that same period.
Stylistically, at least, the pairing makes sense. Johnson has typically needed a partner with a strong outside presence to succeed, feeding in the kind of driven crosses he likes to hammer home. Espíndola certainly fits that mold.
"This works great for me," Espíndola said optimistically. "I like to be outside, he’s more of an in-the-box guy even though he can go outside as well. His speed is great, too – I feel very comfortable with it."
The two players are just a couple of puzzle pieces for United, who've brought in a ton of new faces – a baker's dozen of them. Unlike some of D.C.'s other recent acquisitions, several of whom have very little or no MLS experience, Espíndola is a known variable, a player who's been held in high regard since his arrival stateside in 2009.
"I think the team knows what to expect from me; I’ve been pretty consistent over the past three years," Espíndola shared. "I want to win my place in the starting lineup, to give it everything I can. After that, it’s pretty obvious: make the playoffs, and go from there."
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That consistency has paid dividends for both of Espíndola's previous employers. Real Salt Lake made the playoffs in all three of his seasons with them and the New York Red Bulls won the Supporters' Shield with him last year.
D.C. United, on the other hand, have struggled mightily, qualifying for postseason play just once in the past five seasons. It's a pattern United's newest forward seems eager to break.
"I'm not interested in repeating what happened here last year," said Espíndola. "This team has a lot of championships, and I'm interested in winning another one with them."