Normally with a playoff team, you would not expect extensive turnover in the part of the field that usually supplies goals. However, DC United has bucked the trend and (almost) completely overhauled its strike force for the 2013 season.
Last season, Albanian Hamdi Salihi was brought in to score the goals that the previous “solution”, Charlie Davies, was unable to. That didn’t exactly work out, as Ben Olsen decided that a forward should be more concerned with defense and harassing defenders passing out of the back than finishing (see: Lionard Pajoy).
As an aside, I don’t like watching Lionard Pajoy play soccer. It’s sort of my bone that I won’t stop chewing on. You won’t convince me otherwise.
As Salihi attempts to find greener pastures on the continent, United has brought in some new faces to fill the net.
Anyone who will tell you they know a lot about what Rafael can do is either a liar or a intense watcher of the Brazilian league and its bottom dwellers. What we can tell for sure is that he has scored 10 goals in 36 appearances for Bahia, who currently sit 15th out of 20 teams. We can also tell you that he is classified as “Young Designated Player”, which is a thing that I had never heard of until he was signed. What that means is that only $150k out the players salary will count against the salary cap, and that he’s making about as much as Brad Evans, Diego Chara, and a bunch of other non top tier players.
Ben Olsen remarked at the time of Raphael’s signing that “we aren’t looking for any other number 9″, which is true both symbolically and literally as Rafael has taken Salihi’s jersey number. With that said, you can expect to see Rafael getting a lot of time on the field this year, hopefully occupying the heart locket Olsen wears that previously had a picture of Pajoy in it.
Prediction: It is a rare occasion where a young player comes into MLS in their first year, and lights the league up. We just don’t know enough about him to make an informed opinion. I will wager that coming from the fringes of a lower level Brazilian team does not put you in the best position to light up MLS. I’ll gladly be wrong, but I can see this move being disappointing.
7 goals, 27 appearances
Signed from DC United’s academy, Seaton looks to be a “one for the future” type of signing, similar to Conor Shanosky, who spent all of last year on loan with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, of the NASL (2nd division). Seaton has represented Jamaica at the U-17 level, but is still eligible to play for the United States as he has dual citizenship. There’s a long way to go until we have to think about that, and Seaton seems like a prime candidate to spend the season in Richmond, getting some experience playing against men in a professional setting.
Prediction: If we see Seaton in RFK, something has probably gone very wrong. Hopefully, Seaton gets some seasoning in Richmond this season, and is in a position to help the team next year.
No appearances for DC United, 4 goals in 16 appearances in Richmond
Its a rare opportunity to profit from institutional racism, but DC United may have done that on Friday. Chivas USA are in the process of trading all non hispanic players from their roster at cut rate prices, and DC United gave them a pallet of Modelo and a 2nd round pick for Townsend. Townsend, who only scored 1 goal last year, is rated highly around the league and was seen to be a steal for DC. He scored 43 goals in 85 appearances at Maryland, home of Sasho Cirovski, occasional United color commentator. At a $77k salary, Townsend fits the role of reserve forward perfectly, and is a sizable upgrade over Long Tan, who was let go following Townsend’s acquisition.
Prediction: I think that Townsend recaptures some of the magic he lost in Los Angeles, and is a solid contributor for DC United. To be fair, not many people scored for Chivas last year, so he was in good/bad company.
5 goals in 17 appearances