D.C. United has announced that forward Fabián Espíndola’s option was extended and he now has Designated Player status. The Argentinian will begin his second season with the Black-and-Red in 2015 following a campaign in which he finished with MLS career highs in goals (11) and assists (9). Per club and League policy, specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Fabian is coming off his best year in MLS last season and he deserves to be a Designated Player,” said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper. “He is in the prime of his career and we look forward to his future contributions to our club.”
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Following his acquisition in Stage 2 of the 2013 MLS Reentry Draft, Espíndola made 27 appearances (24 starts) and was a dominant offensive force and a critical piece of D.C. United’s resurgent 2014 campaign, finishing the year with a team high in assists and tied for the team lead in scoring. It was the most productive of his eight years in Major League Soccer, during which he has compiled 55 goals and 28 assists. Espíndola is one of only four MLS players with at least nine goals in each of the last four seasons (Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry, Chris Wondolowski).
Espíndola emphatically announced his arrival by scoring D.C. United’s first goal of the season in a 2-2 tie with Chicago on March 29, 2014. He also scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over 2013 MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City on May 31 with a magnificent curling strike that was No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10. Despite being injured in the opening seconds of the Black-and-Red’s visit to the Montreal Impact on June 11, Espíndola recorded a hat trick of assists before being substituted at halftime. He scored again in United’s regular season finale visit to Montreal to establish his new career high in scoring.
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D.C. United will depart for the first leg of the 2015 preseason in Bradenton, Fla., on Jan. 24. The team will also train and compete in preseason matches in Austin, Tex., and Dallas, Tex. Prior to the opening of the 2015 MLS regular season vs. Montreal at RFK Stadium on March 7 at 3 p.m. ET, the Black-and-Red will compete in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. The team will face Costa Rican side Alajuelense on the road on Thursday, Feb. 26, and in a return leg at RFK Stadium on Wednesday, March 4.