Club officials remain in the domestic and international marketplaces and say they have the resources to make additional moves.
At the moment, here’s how the preseason roster looks:
Goalkeepers: This is the easiest position to break down because a) United is well-stocked and b) there is a clear hierarchy. Bill Hamid (231 MLS matches) is the starter. Chris Seitz (104) is the primary backup. Earl Edwards Jr. (six) will probably split time again between the first team and second-flight Loudoun United.
Simon Lefebvre, the 6-foot-9 first-round draft pick from France via Temple University, will have a chance to earn a contract at Loudoun and compete with Colin Miller (three matches last year) for playing time. Another draftee, Michigan’s Andrew Verdi, turned down a camp invitation.
Defenders: There is a glaring shortage on the back line, though the numbers look better when midfielders capable of contributing are taken into account.
Steven Birnbaum and Frederic Brillant are the incumbent center backs, with second-year Donovan Pines as the only other option. Joseph Mora is the lone left back.
The natural right backs are Oniel Fisher, who missed the entire 2019 season in knee recovery, and Chris Odoi-Atsem, who last year recovered from cancer treatments to make three appearances.
Late last season, with on-loan Leonardo Jara faltering, defensive midfielder Russell Canouse moved to right back and performed admirably. Midfielders Gressel and Paul Arriola are also capable of providing cover at right back, but that’s not why they are here.
The club would like to sign at least one defender who could fill multiple roles.
United conceded 38 goals last year — only Los Angeles FC allowed fewer — and ended the regular season with five consecutive shutouts. So the foundation is strong, but depth remains an urgent issue.
Aaron Maund, a center back with seven years of MLS experience, and Duke Lacroix, a left back from second-division Reno, will attempt to earn contracts in Florida.
Midfielders: Permutations are seemingly endless. Will United continue playing with two defensive midfielders or just one? Will the formation change regularly throughout the season?
How will Olsen accommodate both right-sided Gressel and Arriola? Olsen tapped Flores as the playmaker, but will he partner with someone centrally?
Yamil Asad returns for his second tour in Washington as the left wing, but where does that leave Ulises Segura? Does winger Emmanuel Boateng have a future in Washington?
In his second year, homegrown winger Griffin Yow, 17, has massive potential but, at some point, is going to need playing time beyond Loudoun.
In defensive midfield, Canouse, Junior Moreno and Felipe Martins will vie for one or two starting spots. Canouse said he expects to return to midfield this year, but at the moment, he might be the best option at right back.
Olsen said he likes the idea of employing players who can fill multiple roles and rotating assignments, especially when players depart on international duty. He also likes creating competition for playing time. But his happiness is not necessarily the players’ happiness.
Moses Nyeman and Kevin Paredes, 16-year-old homegrown signings, will undoubtedly play for Loudoun, and draftee Josh Fawole will vie for a Loudoun contract.
Forwards: With Wayne Rooney gone, Ola Kamara, a late signing last season, inherits the starting role. He is a proven MLS scorer: 48 goals between 2016 and ’18 with the Columbus Crew and Los Angeles Galaxy. In five D.C. appearances last year, he notched three goals in five appearances.
Kamara does not have Rooney’s menace or ability to create opportunities (whether out of nothing in the run of play or off set pieces), but he is bigger, stronger and four years younger.
The apparent backup is an intriguing figure: Erik Sorga, 20, who scored in bundles in the low-level Estonian league. He is under contract with Loudoun but very much in United’s plans.
Though they have higher roster priorities, United officials say they will continue seeking front-line depth.