WASHINGTON – For Charlie Davies, the ending of his triumphant comeback season wasn’t quite what he had in mind.
The striker was an unused substitute this past Saturday in D.C. United’s 1-0 loss to Sporting KC, a far cry from March and April when he was a key offensive cog who filled the nets regularly. A first-half injury to Clyde Simms forced Ben Olsen to burn an early sub against Sporting, and with Davies in a bit of a rut, the coach went with other options in search of the equalizer.
Despite the disappointing conclusion, Davies was certainly pleased with his decision to make a comeback with D.C.
“When I think about it, I’m going to be 1,000 times better next year from all the experience just from this season,” he said after the loss.
Whether he’ll put that experience to use in D.C. or at some other locale next year is far from certain. The club has an option to acquire the forward outright from his current club Sochaux, while the current loan deal expires at the end of the calendar year.
What United decide for a player whose minutes dwindled down the stretch – he played only 76 minutes in his last three appearances of the year – remains to be seen.
Regardless of what happens, Davies was enthusiastic in his praise for his teammates this year.
“The guys on the team are unbelievable,” he told reporters. “I would say they are [some] of the best teammates I’ve ever had. I’ve gotten a privilege to play with many great players and many great teams in my five year pro career, and I think this locker room is unbelievable.”
Despite appearing hesitant to use the striker down the stretch, Davies’ contribution to D.C. this year (11 goals in 26 games) didn’t escape Olsen, either.
“It’s pretty remarkable that he’s come back and contributed to this team,” United's head coach said. “Anywhere you cut it, whether it’s the beginning, middle, or the end [of the season], if you take it as a combined season he’s a big part of some of the success we’ve had this year.”
And whether he’s a part of it or not, Davies thinks big things lie ahead for D.C.
“This was a great building block for D.C. United," he said. "I think that next year is going to be one [heck] of a year for this team with all the potential [they have].”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.