On March 8th, each MLS team has a clean slate; an equal chance to etch their name into the history books in December. But what starts on Saturday, began months before. By the end of the 2013 season, coaches and general managers had already begun making moves to improve their squads. And that is exactly what D.C. United has done this offseason—improve.
“Collectively, we are very pleased with the group,” said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper. “The guys have worked very hard in preseason. They’ve come together. There’s a good vibe in this group, and these guys want to win. So, we’re excited about the season.”
With improvement came change—most noticeably, an entirely new backline.
“What’s not to like about it?” Kasper asked with a smile. “They’re four veteran guys; three from our league and [Cristian] Fernandez from Spain. They’re very smart tactically, and they’ve got great experience.
“We had a very good core going into the offseason,” said Kasper. “These players are a big part of our future, players with a lot of games under their belts. They were really the foundation we started to re-build from.”
Two former Rookie of the Year candidates, a young keeper with National Team experience, mid-season acquisitions Conor Dolye, Jared Jeffrey and Luis Silva and 2012 MLS All-Star MVP Chris Pontius is a solid foundation. Now add veteran leaders like Davy Arnaud, Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke, offensive powerhouses like Eddie Johnson and Fabián Espíndola, outside backs who can keep clean sheets and get into the attack like Sean Franklin and Fernandez, and your foundation begins to form an extremely competitive, well-rounded and hungry D.C. United.
What exactly is United hungry for? Success— domestically and internationally.
“Our main goal is making the playoffs,” said Kasper. “It is a top priority. We are also focused on advancing to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF [Champions League], and going as far in the Open Cup as we can.”
D.C. United takes on the Columbus Crew on Saturday, March 8. Kickoff is at 7p.m.! Come support the Black-and-Red in its Home Opener! Buys tickets here!