Ulises Segura (kicking) with the Costa Rica National Team | USA Today Sports
The Offseason So Far: They're quietly doing work. Frederic Brillant and Darren Mattocks aren't needle-movers, but both guys are proven depth pieces on winning teams in this league. Ulises Segura was the playmaker for a very good Saprissa team and is likely headed to next summer's World Cup. And if they're able to come to terms with Gonzalo Veron, they'll be getting an in-his-prime attacker who had 8g/4a in 1200 minutes across all competitions last year.
Those are incredibly efficient numbers. I thought the Red Bulls made a mistake in not keeping him, as he seemed to have turned a corner. It wouldn't shock me at all if he turns out to be United's starting No. 9.
With these moves D.C.'s wings and front line and midfield are all pretty well set, as is goalkeeper. And that means the focus is on the backline.
Can Steve Birnbaum bounce back after last season's misery? Are either Kofi Opare or Jalen Robinson starting-caliber players in the long-term? Will we see Chris Durkin there, or at defensive midfield? And what's going on at the fullback slots?
D.C. have a ton of cap room and two DP slots to answer any questions they need. And however it spins out, there's no excuse for this team to be as bad as they were last year.
JAN. 2 UPDATE: The work continues, as they quietly added Venezuelan national team defensive midfielder Junior Moreno on Tuesday. Moreno, who's 24 and just broke into la Vinotinto's set-up, was regarded as one of the best d-mids in his home country's league last year, and joins a growing list of Venezuelans in MLS.
In my head I now have him and Russell Canouse on the depth chart at d-mid, and have mentally moved Durkin to CB. Let's all take a minute to remember how good he was stepping out of the back for the US U-17s at the World Cup back in October:
I like Durkin as a CM, but love him as a ball-playing CB. Hopefully Ben Olsen feels the same.
Regardless, expect D.C. to add one more CB and another LB.
JAN. 24 UPDATE: D.C. quietly traded out of the Draft for $200,000 xAM. Then they traded Homegrown central midfielder Eryk Williamson to Portland for $200,000 xAM. And that was a week after trading Perry Kitchen's rights to the Galaxy for $300,000 xAM. They also got an international slot from the Timbers in that Williamson deal.
No big incoming moves just yet (though they did sign David Ousted), but there's one coming. They just collected all that cash for a reason, and while I still hold a ton of Patrick Mullins stock, I just hope for the kid's sake that he's ready to win his job against a high-priced import, because that's what he's going to have to do.
There will also be substantial additions at fullback. D.C.'s done a nice job of creating a younger, more dynamic core. Now they've got to solidify the spots that killed them last year.