WASHINGTON – Following up a sensational rookie season has been an up-and-down undertaking for D.C. United's Andy Najar. But the 18-year-old Honduran native has been in fine form recently and has established himself as one of the brightest young talents in MLS.
Najar has s scored five goals and has six assists on the year for D.C., including last week’s 80-yard dash-and-smash against Philadelphia. United will need that kind of spark from their youngster in these next four games as D.C. look to book a playoff spot for the first time since 2007.
MLSsoccer.com recently caught up with the teenage phenomenon, who answered questions (through an interpreter) about his second year as a pro and who he’ll support in this weekend’s USA-Honduras clash.
MLSsoccer.com: How are you feeling almost at the end of your second year as a professional?
Najar: I’m feeling really good. Each year that passes I get better, and I can continue [to do] this and help the team even more.
MLSsoccer.com: Was this year harder than the first?
Najar: This year was a little bit tougher than the last one, because last year, the other teams didn’t really know who I was. Now that they know, the know how to mark me so I have to work a little harder than that. I’m just working harder and getting better.
MLSsoccer.com: With four games left, what does the team need to do to make the playoffs?
Najar: We’ve just got to give it our last big effort this stretch, because we’re on the verge of either going in or staying out. We have to work our [butts] off because this team hasn’t made the playoffs for a couple of years now, and we’re working really hard to try to make it this year.
MLSsoccer.com: You had a nice goal against Philadelphia. Ever score a goal like that before?
Najar: No it was my first time scoring a goal like that. Sometimes you get chances like that and you’ve got to be ready to take advantage of
them – so I did, and it was a nice goal.
MLSsoccer.com: Who will you be cheering for on Saturday – the US or Honduras?
Najar: I just want the best team to win – the one who wins will actually be the best one, so I just wish they [put] on a good show and things turn out well for both teams.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.