D.C. United have been busy this summer and they don’t appear to be finished just yet.
According to head coach Wayne Rooney, who was appointed last month, the club is close to finalizing one more acquisition before the Secondary Transfer Window deadline passes on Thursday (Aug. 4).
"I think as a manager you always want to see more players come in. We've been working very hard over the last week. I think potentially we could have someone in by tomorrow evening,” Rooney told reporters following the club’s 3-0 loss at Charlotte FC Wednesday night.
“We were trying to get something over the line or close to done while the game was going on, so I don't have any update on that yet, so I'll be checking on that now when I go in. It could be difficult in terms of the timeframe, but we are trying to get at least one more player done,” added the Manchester United legend.
New coach, new vision
D.C. United's roster has been revamped under Rooney as the squad inches closer to their new head coach’s vision.
On Wednesday, they appointed Pete Shuttleworth as an assistant coach. The Englishman joins Rooney’s technical staff after serving as part of Rooney’s coaching staff with Derby County in the English Championship last season.
As for the roster, they have made the following moves:
- Signed Jamaican international midfielder Ravel Morrison, a free agent who played under Rooney at Derby County
- Picked up striker Miguel Berry in a trade with the Columbus Crew for up to $325,000 in GAM
- Acquired Icelandic international midfielder Victor Pálsson from German Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 as a DP
- Acquired goalkeeper David Ochoa in a trade with Real Salt Lake in exchange for at least $75,000 in 2023 GAM
- Chilean winger Martin Rodriguez, who recently made his debut as well, arrived from the Turkish top-flight in late June
As for the caliber of a potential incoming replacement? Well, the club still holds a DP spot as the Secondary Transfer Window heads to a close.
"There's players out there, good players out there that we're looking for, so you never know,” Rooney said.
In the meantime, D.C. United will be concerned with a potential injury to star forward Taxi Fountas.
The 26-year-old Greek international was forced to leave Wednesday’s game at halftime with groin tightness, though Rooney stated afterward the move was precautionary.
“We’ll see how [his groin] is over the next 24 to 48 hours,” Rooney said of the 2022 MLS All-Star.
Any injury to Fountas would be a severe blow for D.C. United. The DP attacker has been the club’s best player, scoring 11 goals and adding three assists in 15 league starts during his first season with the Black-and-Red.
Brendan Hines-Ike was also forced to leave Wednesday’s match and will have X-rays on his foot. The defender has started all but two league matches for D.C. this season.
One bit of positive news is Ochoa appears to be inching closer to his D.C. United debut. Having yet to feature in an MLS match this season, the Mexican international is “still probably a week to 10 days away” as he works his way up to full fitness, Rooney added. However, the former Derby Country manager cautioned Rafael Romo has impressed and would provide some healthy competition for the starting goalkeeper spot.
D.C. United are last in the Eastern Conference table – eight points back of an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs spot – with 12 matches remaining. If the Black-and-Red want to make any sort of push towards the postseason, they’ll need help and fitness on their side.