The Black-and-Red were pretty busy Wednesday night, off the field that is. D.C. United made two separate transactions, resulting in a player coming in and one going out. It’s clear that the team wishes to fix it’s struggling attack.
Fabia Espindola scored the equalizer on the road last week, today he’s headed to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Fabi has seen his role change a bit this season, he used to play up top and drift wide. This year he’s found himself slotted in on the wing rather than up top, that could be attributed to several reasons but he did what was asked. His style of play is a little different for what D.C. United is trying to do with their attack, he often holds on to the ball a bit long and hasn’t created as many scoring chances for others as he has in the past. Still, his mentality to attack and shoot has paid off for the Black-and-Red, again look no further than last week. Another reason is simply health, Espindola has been in and out of the lineup the last two seasons.
The second transaction was the acquisition of former Maryland Terrapin star Patrick Mullins. They 24-year old forward was taken 11th in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft by the New England Revolution. After a solid rookie campaign, he hasn’t had much in terms of steady opportunities to play. Although, he’s been productive in a limited role, averaging a goal or assist every 154 minutes he’s played. The kid has a knack for scoring and it seems as if D.C. United welcomes the opportunity to further his development.
On the field, it may truly be addition by subtraction. This now puts the playmaking mostly on the feet of Luciano Acosta, he’s shown this year that his touch and vision translate to this level of play. Retooling the attack to fit his skill set and more importantly the pace he plays at can help the Black-and-Red find some consistency and possibly success in the attack. Former Red Bull Lloyd Sam played his first match for D.C. United last week and his addition felt seamless, his pace was a welcome sight and helped open things up on the wing.
The additions the last two weeks make for interesting competition at several spots on the roster. Their is certainly a competition on the wings now as Sam has appeared to lock down the right side. Lamar Neagle played well in Seattle on the left, but Patrick Nyarko returned from injury last week and he could be an option there as well. There is now a three-man battle to man the role of the lone forward up top in the starting 11 (unless the formation changes of course), between Alvaro Saborio, Alhaji Kamara, and Patrick Mullins.
All of which are good problems for a team that is sorely lacking in the attacking department, although it’s always hard seeing players go, but it is a business. The Black-and-Red know they have areas in which they struggle and need to improve, can’t knock them for trying to address them.