While 2017 was a challenging year for United, the season still provided the Black-and-Red a chance to sharpen their skills and increase team chemistry. For midfielder Luciano Acosta, who joined United from top Argentine side Boca Juniors in 2016, the season served as a valuable opportunity to continue developing his game while adapting to the style of play in MLS.
“I kept learning the style of play here [in the United States] and adapting myself to that style this year,” Acosta said. “I’ve played here two years now, giving me time to better learn the style of play and giving the other guys here time to get to know me and how I play.”
Like in 2016, Acosta remained one of United's top offensive spark plugs this season, scoring fives times and adding five assists. The 23-year-old battled a number of injuries throughout the season, though, forcing the midfielder to learn how to find the mental and physical strength required to carry on.
“Honestly, [injuries] had a pretty big impact,” Acosta said of his 2017 campaign. “It was pretty painful a lot of games, but I had to work through it and push through it to play.”
Acosta received additional help in the midfield when reinforcements arrived in the forms of Paul Arriola, Zoltán Stieber and Russell Canouse, leading to renewed vigor on the attack. The midfielder began developing promising chemistry with Arriola in particular, as seen through Acosta's perfectly-placed assist on Arriola’s first career MLS goal in the RFK finale.
Acosta believes his continually-developing connection with Arriola could lead to a dangerous Black-and-Red attack in 2018.
“I spoke to Paul a lot about our connection actually, we get along well,” Acosta said. “When [the transfers] got here they helped out the team and had a big impact. It’s exciting moving to next year and hoping that they can be even more impactful for a full year.”
While the summer transfer window additions were crucial to the Black-and-Red's initial steps of improvement, the makeup of the squad will likely continue to transform over the offseason. Regardless of who's on the roster and who's starting in 2018, Acosta knows an increase in scoring is crucial.
“It doesn’t really matter who scores," Acosta said. "Whoever scores is going to help the team and that’s what’s most important. We have really good players here that can score goals, but if somebody else comes in that can also score then hopefully they can help us, too.”
Even more importantly, the midfielder believes that despite any changes that will reshape the roster heading into next year, the team will continue to hold each other accountable and work toward the common goal of returning to the top of the league.
"Everybody works for each other. There’s not one single person that provides that leadership, we all have to do our part to work for the group.”