A Big Question: Does Anthony Blondell have anything to offer?
The 'Caps spent, by their standards, a lot of money on Blondell (reports put it at something close to a $1.3 million transfer fee, while his salary was a more manageable $295,203.21 according to the player's union). The big Venezuelan didn't deliver.
In his first season at BC Place he earned just 642 minutes, and scored just one goal. He was justifiably buried behind veteran Kei Kamara, who was reliably productive both in terms of putting the ball into the back of the net and in doing the type of grunt work most teams require of their No. 9.
Kamara's gone now, and aside from Blondell the only other center forward on the roster is 19-year-old Homegrown Theo Blair, who was only moderately productive at the academy level. There are minutes to be earned up top. Blondell seems a strong favorite to get most of them.
Can he make anything of it? When he was on the field last year he often looked the part of a guy who can lead the line, but he almost always struggled to create separation from MLS defenders. When he was in the neighborhood of a gold-plated chance, he was almost always a half a step slow to realize it or make anything of it. We see this every year with productive college forwards – the things they did at that level just don't translate up.
There's a chance the same is true of Blondell, and that the gap between MLS and the Venezuelan league is, at this point, just too large to traverse for most players.
But there's a chance that it's not. Blondell got his feet wet last year, and will get his chance to make his mark this year. The 'Caps badly need for him to do so.