In need of backline help, D.C. United acquired defender Mike Chabala from the Portland Timbers on Thursday for a first-round pick in the 2014 MLS supplemental draft. He will arrive in Washington today and might end up starting against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday in place of Daniel Woolard (concussion).
“It’s a spot we knew we needed [to fill] to really complete our depth,” Coach Ben Olsen said. “He is a guy who has had a bunch of games in this league and we know can do a good job for us. ... He’s looking for a fresh start.”
To make space on the roster, United announced that veteran midfielder Kurt Morsink, who hadn’t appeared in a league game this season, has retired to become the club’s scouting coordinator.
Chabala, 28, is in his seventh MLS season, the first five and a half with the Houston Dynamo. Since being acquired by the Timbers last summer, he started 13 league matches in 2011 but only six this season. Throughout his career, he has played almost exclusively as a left back but can also play on the right side.
With Woolard and right back Robbie Russell (foot) currently sidelined, United is in need of defensive reinforcement heading into the last two months of the regular season. Chris Korb can play on both the left and right corner, but with Russell out, he has started on the right side, leaving no cover on the left.
When Woolard departed in the second half last Saturday against Columbus, midfielder Lewis Neal entered as the left back.
Woolard is not available for this Saturday’s match at Kansas City and no timetable has been set for his return.
Chabala’s base salary is $77,000; Morsink was making $44,000.
Is United looking to make any additional moves before the Sept. 14 roster deadline?
“We’re cashed out,” Olsen said. “This is who we are and I am okay with that.”
Morsink, 28, was in his third season with United after three in Kansas City. He played at James Madison University.
“Kurt has been a great locker room guy for us and brings a unique background to the role, having grown up in Central America and attended college in the States,” General Manager Dave Kasper said. “After three seasons here, he understands the club, and our vision, and we’re pleased to keep him on as a part of the team. Full credit for this new hire is due to our investment group, who has made expanding our scouting reach a priority.”