The Black-and-Red are making it very clear that they wish to add speed this offseason, in the hopes of sparking their struggling attack. First, it was Lamar Neagle that was brought in via trade last month. Today it was Patrick Nyarko, the 29-year old was traded to D.C. in exchange for a second round pick in next week’s MLS Super Draft. The Ghanian tore his ACL in 2014, which certainly affected him a bit last season, but he still played in 19 matches. The former Virginia Tech player was drafted 7th overall back in 2008 by the Chicago Fire.
One of the biggest issues for United last season was dealing was speed or pace. They struggled with teams that possessed players with the trait due to them not having any with it. Their attack was methodical and lacked that explosive element, especially in the 4-4-2 formation they employ.
“From a wide position, Patrick has regularly been one of the top chance creators in the league” -United General Manager Dave Kasper
D.C. does have playmakers in their attack, but the lack of creativity and pace means that their margin for error is extremely low. Every attack must be perfect, every pass must be on point and no touch can go wasted. Adding pieces like Neagle and Nyarko mean counter attacks don’t have to be built up methodically all of the time. It can be a sloppy pass that ends up at the feet of one of those players and it turns into a numbers game in the final third in United’s favor. It’s far too early to know how everyone will be used, but it’s clear that the pace and technical ability that both players bring to the table can really give a struggling attack a strong pulse.
Rolfe had a great year last season for the Black-and-Red, he and Nyarko have played together during two different stints in Chicago, that chemistry should still be there or shouldn’t take long to rekindle. Chris is a very good playmaker, putting players like Nyarko and Neagle around him should take some pressure off of him and give him more space to work should he be moved inside. The same goes for Nick DeLeon, he and Rolfe no longer shoulder that burden of creating on the wings by themselves.
“His pace and technical ability make him difficult to defend and we believe that he will complement our returning attacking players perfectly.” – United General Manager Dave Kasper
This doesn’t mean that all the issues for United’s attack are solved, but it certainly helps. They could certainly use another forward up front with some size and pace, preferably younger that can give both Fabian Espindola and Alvaro Saborio a rest at times. Obviously there are holes in midfield that need to be addressed as it appears that Perry Kitchen’s time with United is in the past. Still, the two trades this offseason already give D.C. something they sorely needed last season. Speed.