23 January 2008

Half Done

With the formal announcement that United now has Franco Niell (Post, Times) on loan for the 2008 campaign, United has a decent sense of what they look like up-top and in front of the nets. Midfield and Defense are now the concerns, and training starts in less than a week. As Haydon says in the Times:

United is expected to make other key signings this week — possibly bringing in Peruvian goalie Jose Carvallo and Colombian defender Gonzalo Martinez — to replace goalie Troy Perkins and defender Bobby Boswell, both of whom recently left the team.

Also not finalized is the status of Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez. If Moreno doesn't sign (and most rumors say he will), at least United is now looking to be able to field two options at forward with Niell and Emilio. Would I prefer Moreno be part of a triumvirate of strikers? Yes. But at least I don't need to worry about a hole up-top.

The Gomez question is far more interesting. It is clear that United believes they have a Plan B, but there's a well known cliche about plans involving humans and rodents. I am still of the feeling that Gomez will be back, but I haven't moved from a 60% confidence level in that feeling.

Defensively, the signing of Martinez would almost be a one-for-one swap with the still unsigned Greg Vanney. That gets us out of the hole in the defense situation, but it does not address depth, which I know I have gone on far too much about with respect to the backline. But our defenders do get injured (hernias being a specialty), and carded, and games will be missed.

So what do I want to see? Get the rumored signings done, get Gomez or the Plan B option, add a wide threat in midfield, and another quality back. Is that too much to ask? Okay, probably it is. This is MLS, and rare is the team that can address all of its needs. Which is probably why coaching matters more in the this league than in others. In other leagues, you acquire the players and put them out there, and most teams will acquire players to address all levels of their team. With MLS, it seems every team will have one area where they are better than most of the league, and one area where they are far behind (Houston is an exception which proves the rule here). That makes tactical decisions almost as important as strategic decisions, since from week to week your comparative strengths and weaknesses will change.

Let me be clear - I am not worried about putting out a quality side right now. We don't have a dominant side, a side that I would say is the odds-on favorite for another Supporter's Shield run, but I don't think we have to worry much about being the laughing stock we were in 2002. We'll be competitive, and then we can take stock again. The interesting thing is that if we did manage to hit all items on the wish-list, this team could look very intimidating indeed.

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At 23 January, 2008 09:30, Anonymous bdr said...

Noonen gone from Ningland, which looks much reduced.

At 23 January, 2008 10:13, Anonymous bdr said...

Oh, and Goff reported Moreno signed a two year contract in the article he wrote about United's draft picks.

At 23 January, 2008 10:40, Blogger Oscar said...

bdr's rign - Moreno re-signed for 2 years and took a paycut.

At 23 January, 2008 11:50, Blogger Kinney said...

Actually Goff reported that he will sign this week. I think it is about 99% certain, but we haven't gotten word that he has officially signed yet.

At 23 January, 2008 14:14, Anonymous Jeremy said...

If Gomez doesn't sign, is there any possibility that Moreno drops back into the attacking midfield role?

I'm no expert, but it seems that his skills are more suited toward directing the attack than actually attacking himself.

Anyone with more knowledge have any thoughts on that regard?

At 23 January, 2008 14:35, Blogger Kinney said...

If Gomez doesn't sign than DCU either signs another quality AM like Gallardo or they move Fred to AM (where he played for Melbourne) and find a quality winger on the transfer market.

While Moreno can play AM for a game or two if need be, he can't keep it up for the entire season.

At 24 January, 2008 23:52, Anonymous Nick said...

Good post, but I hope you are wrong that coaching matters more in MLS than other leagues, bc that would certainly put us at a disadvantage. At best, we know that our coach is an average MLS coach. At worst, he's near the bottom.


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