RFK Stadium has been eerily quiet this winter – and not just because the Military Bowl was poorly attended.
With training camp set to open in two weeks, United has made few moves and offered few clues about new acquisitions. Aside from claiming veteran midfielder John Thorrington’s rights in the MLS re-entry draft, the club has been silent in the signing market.
United Coach Ben Olsen and the technical staff scouted in Latin America but have yet to announce any deals.
United will add players – just none so far and probably none until next week, at the earliest. Keep in mind: Last year United didn’t ink Maicon Santos, Danny Cruz, Emiliano Dudar, Hamdi Salihi and Marcelo Saragosa until late January and early February.
Comment from DCU’s decision-makers has been tough to come by: Kevin Payne’s executive position has not been filled, General Manager Dave Kasper is out of the country on a long-delayed vacation and Olsen is recovering from extracted wisdom teeth.
United could use some attacking bite. Santos (seven goals) is off to Chicago via the re-entry draft, Hamdi Salihi (six goals) is uncertain to return despite a guaranteed contract and Branko Boskovic’s departure to Europe has left a creative void in midfield.
United’s other winter transactions:
*Re-signed defenders Robbie Russell and Dejan Jakovic to new contracts.
*Cut ties with Boskovic, left back Mike Chabala and midfielder Stephen King. Picked up the options on most other holdovers.
*Announced forward Josh Wolff’s retirement and made him a full-time assistant coach.
*Granted midfielder-right back Andy Najar permission to train with Belgian champion Anderlecht. (Barring a major transfer offer, Najar will report to D.C. training camp, tentatively set for Jan. 17.)
*Selected Thorrington but have yet to unveil a deal. In an e-mail, Olsen said he was “very optimistic” the sides would reach contractual agreement.
United declined Dudar’s option but was engaged in talks about a new deal at a lower rate. It is also attempting to extend midfielder Raphael Augusto’s loan from Fluminense.
Aside from the Thorrington update, Olsen said he deferred roster questions to Kasper.
Meantime, the other top finishers in the Eastern Conference last season have been active:
Sporting Kansas City acquired midfielder Benny Feilhaber from the New England Revolution after losing midfielder Roger Espinoza to English club Wigan and signed Argentine forward Claudio Bieler to a designated player deal. The Houston Dynamo traded with Colorado for forward Omar Cummings. Chicago collected Santos.
And New York added center back Jamison Olave and forward Fabian Espindola from Real Salt Lake, defender Kosuke Kimura from the Portland Timbers, and Brazilian midfielder Juninho from Vasco da Gama. (The Red Bulls jettisoned Rafael Marquez and Sebastien Le Toux.)
United officials and their counterparts from the other 18 clubs will descend on Fort Lauderdale, Fla., late next week for the college scouting combine ahead of the Jan. 17 draft in Indianapolis. United has the 17th pick in the first round but no second-rounders. The four-round supplemental draft is Jan. 22.