As the Insider reported Saturday, D.C. United and Brazilian forward Rafael have parted ways. An official declaration came today. Rafael, 20, arrived with unattainable expectations — the club promoted his signing as a “major” announcement — and he never solidified a regular place in the lineup.
In a Q&A on United’s website, General Manager Dave Kasper said:
“We thought he would be further along at this point of the season in his adaptation and development. Additionally, Casey Townsend has come into the picture recently with solid play, and Rafa lost playing time as a result. We did not see this changing. In the end, with a looming decision on a big transfer payment for a player on loan, we felt it would be wiser to look to invest funds toward players elsewhere.”
Cutting Rafael (one goal in 331 minutes over seven league matches, including four starts) before the July 1 contract deadline frees an international roster slot and some salary cap space. The Bahia loaner was earning $220,000 in base salary and $284,625 in guaranteed compensation from MLS.
“We are looking to add two to three players this summer, and we have salary cap and allocation money to make some moves,” Kasper added. The international transfer window opens in two weeks.
Rafael is the third young foreign player dumped in recent weeks, joining Panamanian midfielder Marcos Sanchez and Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto. Rafael and Sanchez lasted less than half of a season; Augusto joined late last year.
*With the regular season in ruins, United turns its full attention to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal tonight against the New England Revolution at Maryland SoccerPlex. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at the gate. Both clubs will provide live streamed video on their websites. A small preview is here.
Weather outlook in Boyds: 82 degrees, 69 percent humidity, 40 percent chance of thunderstorms.
*The FIFA Confederations Cup semifinals are intra-continental affairs:
Today: Brazil vs. Uruguay
Thursday: Spain vs. Italy
Coverage begins each day at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, Univision, WatchESPN and ESPN3.com
*U.S. midfielder Daniel Williams, whose injuries and inactivity sidelined him for the recent friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, has moved to Reading from Hoffenheim. On the surface, it’s a clear step down — Bundesliga to English second tier. But if he plays regularly and plays well, Williams will return to Juergen Klinsmann‘s roster mix.
*Klinsmann will unveil his 23-man Gold Cup roster Thursday. All selections must come from the 35-man preliminary list. Keep in mind he has the flexibility to make four changes after the group stage, so key players not named to the initial roster may very well be saved for the knockout round. (The replacements must also come from the prelim docket.)
Although most regulars from the May-June camp are skipping this tournament — they need rest before European club training camps open — Klinsmann is taking this seriously. By winning the Gold Cup, the Americans would earn a playoff date with the 2015 champion (if it’s someone other than them) for the right to go to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
Klinsmann will also use the tournament to test
young players on the fringe of the first-team pool (Alejandro Bedoya, Jack McInerney, Stuart Holden) and provide another opportunity for older experienced players who were not included in the recent USA get-together, such as Landon Donovan, Oguchi Onyewu and Jose Torres.
TV coverage for the Gold Cup: All matches will appear on either Fox Soccer or Fox’s main channel in English and Univision or UniMas in Spanish.
The tournament will begin July 7 and run through the July 28 final at Soldier Field in Chicago. Atlanta and Baltimore will host quarterfinal doubleheaders and Dallas will stage the semifinal doubleheader.