The last few days have been a whirlwind for new D.C. United midfielder Austin da Luz. Shortly after riding the bench in New York’s 0-0 draw against Chivas USA on Saturday night, the second-year man learned he was getting traded to DC in exchange for an international roster slot.
“My first thought after I learned about the trade [was that] hopefully I’d be getting a greater opportunity to get some playing time,” he told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “I think this trade is going to be a positive thing for me.”
His arrival in DC will provide much needed depth for a United side lacking healthy outside midfielders. Concussion problems have kept Santino Quaranta and Brandon Barklage sidelined, Branko Boskovic is out for the long term with his ACL tear and Fred is set to return to Australia at the end of this week.
Since arriving in New York as a first-round draft pick in 2010, playing time has been extremely hard to come by for the Wake Forest product, who didn’t make a league appearance as a rookie.
He’s gotten more chances to play this year, while New York’s roster was decimated with injuries and Gold Cup call-ups, and scored his first MLS goal against the Portland Timbers in June.
“I feel like I did well with [the playing time], maybe warranted a chance for a little bit more after that, but unfortunately it didn’t come,” he said.
The opportunities should be more frequent for da Luz down in DC, and he hopes to quickly adapt. Flying straight from LA to Washington after the Chivas game, he spent Monday morning training with his new team, and is eager to work under head coach Ben Olsen.
“He definitely seems like a player’s coach,” da Luz said of Olsen. “All the guys seem to like him a lot — there seems to be great chemistry in the locker room that I’m looking forward to being part of.”
Over the years, the San Diego native has visited the DC area a number of times, and is eager to live in a city he’s grown fond of.
“I love the city, it’s a beautiful place, one of my favorite cities in the country. I’m really, really excited to be able to spend a little more time here.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.