2007 Record: 16-7-7 (1st in East)
Coach: Tom Soehn (2nd Year)
Key Players: Luciano Emilio, Jaime Moreno, Ben Olsen
Key Pickups: Marcelo Gallardo (from Paris St.-Germain)
Key Losses: Christian Gomez (to Colorado), Troy Perkins (to Valerenga I.F.)
2008 Outlook: Excellent
In 2007, Supporters’ Shield winner D.C. United achieved the rare feat of giving up the fewest goals of any team in their division, while simultaneously scoring more goals than any team in their division (or in the league for that matter). The scary thing for division opponents now is that United looks to be even better in ’08.
Rather than rebuilding after losing several long-time starters like Gomez, Brian Carroll, Josh Gros, and Bobby Boswell, United has been more like reloading. Replacing former MVP Gomez is Beckham Rule signee Marcelo Gallardo. Gallardo, a thirty-two year old multiple World Cup veteran from Argentina, could inconceivably be an upgrade from Gomez in the middle for United.
The acquisition of Gallardo was a genius move by the club’s front office which has proven itself to be very adept at securing overseas talent. In addition to Gallardo, United has also brought in Peruvian goalkeeper Jose Carvallo, Colombian Gonzalo Martinez, and Argentineans Franco Neill and Gonzalo Peralta.
Gallardo will now attempt to do what Gomez did so well last season: get the ball to Golden Boot winner Emilio. Emilio was electric in 2007, and there is no reason, barring injury, he should fall short of scoring 20 goals in 2008. MLS all-time leading scorer Moreno should also continue to contribute offensively. In addition, Fred and Ben Olsen should both continue to pepper the ball into the box and produce scoring opportunities.
Defensively, United will no longer have Perkins in the net. Instead, either Zach Wells or Carvallo will emerge as the new starter. Both Carvallo and Wells lack experience, but United fans do not have much to be worried about as both have been effective in their limited time. Furthermore, defensive stalwarts Devon McTavish and Bryan Namoff should continue to prevent whoever the keeper is for United from having to work too hard.
The team should once again be among MLS’ best. The question is though whether United can go all the way and win the MLS Cup. Anything less would likely render 2008 a disappointment for D.C. fans who have grown accustomed to championships.
Enjoy watching DC United in person this season. Check out the availability of DC United tickets