WASHINGTON – They may not be positioning themselves for the postseason, but D.C. United were nonetheless one of the league’s more active players in the final hours before Wednesday’s roster freeze.
Trialists Carlos Varela and Junior Carreiro were signed, while veteran defender Carey Talley was traded to New York in the final hours before the 5 p.m. ET deadline.
According to general manager Dave Kasper, that was necessitated first and foremost by the need to lay the groundwork for next year’s team, but influenced by a bit of short-term roster triage as well. Interim coach Ben Olsen hasn’t even had enough players to fill out his bench in DC’s past two matches, and the club is keen to improve that state of affairs against the Galaxy on Saturday.
“Right now we’re virtually down to two wide midfielders, Andy [Najar] and [Santino Quaranta],” noted Kasper on Thursday. “Branko [Boskovic] can play there as well. So it’s going to give us depth at those two positions. Ben has also used Andy up front late in the games.
“So now we have two guys that can help us now, and again, looking forward to next year as well. We obviously want to finish strong. We had a great result in Toronto and the guys are sharp and motivated to go get a result in LA.”
Kasper revealed that Carreiro, younger brother of Philadelphia Union midfielder and former DC star Fred, was nearly signed in January. But the Brazilian consented to a lengthy training stint with the club and eventually won the confidence of the United coaches, who nonetheless see him as more of a long-term prospect – “a very talented kid,” in Kasper’s words.
Varela, on the other hand, is likely to see match action sooner than later. The Swiss-reared Spaniard is not yet totally match-fit, but is an attacking-minded player who looks ready for the role of impact substitute.
“He signed a very low contract because he really wants to play in MLS and with D.C. United,” said Kasper. “It’s a good opportunity to take a look at a veteran player who quite possibly could figure in with our plans for the future.”
The trade of Talley was a late-breaking development that resulted in short-term reinforcements for a playoff-bound side, and a potentially useful SuperDraft pick for a rebuilding one.
“[New York] called us late in the day, a couple days ago, and asked us if we were interested,” Kasper said. “We actually sat down with Carey and presented the opportunity to him. We wouldn’t have done it if he wasn’t on board with it. It’s an opportunity for us, really to get an asset moving into next year.”