Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - After an offseason of major overhaul,
D.C. United will open its 2014 campaign on Saturday against Eastern Conference
rivals Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium.
United had one of the worst seasons in league history last year, winning just
three games to go with 24 losses. They did win the U.S. Open Cup with a shock
upset of Real Salt Lake, but after such a poor season, a complete roster
makeover was needed.
The front office jettisoned several big-name figures from last year's team,
including former MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario, Carlos Ruiz, Lionard Pajoy, along
with several members of the starting back line, including Dejan Jakovic, Ethan
White and James Riley.
The overhaul then began in a big way with the acquisition of U.S.
international Eddie Johnson from Seattle Sounders FC. United scored just 22
goals last season and Johnson should help kick start the offense as he bagged
23 goals over his two years in Seattle.
To help Johnson with the scoring duties, United made a splash in the league's
Re-Entry draft by selecting former New York Red Bull Fabian Espindola.
Espindola came to New York last season in a trade from Real Salt Lake but
never found his footing in New York, scoring just eight goals.
However, Espindola has displayed his scoring prowess in previous seasons, so
it could just be that a change of scenery is all that is needed for him to
regain his form.
Chris Pontius returns to the midfield along with Nick DeLeon and Perry
Kitchen, while United will feature an entirely new back four with Jeff Parke
arriving from Philadelphia, Sean Franklin coming from Los Angeles and Bobby
Boswell arriving from Houston. The only unknown for D.C. on the back line will
be Christian Fernandez.
For Columbus, it's the dawn of a new era as Gregg Berhalter takes the reins as
head coach, and after being hired by the Crew this past November, Berhalter
has wasted little time in making his mark.
The Columbus back line will have a different look this season with Berhalter
letting go of defenders Glauber, Chad Marshall and Danny O'Rourke and shedding
some salary in the process.
To replace that trio, Berhalter has brought in U.S. national team defender
Michael Parkhurst as well as Costa Rican defenders Giancarlo Gonzalez and
In midfield, the Crew brought in former Chicago Fire man Daniel Paladini and
former LA Galaxy man Hector Jimenez, while the attack will continue to center
around Argentine striker Federico Higuain, speedy forward Dominic Oduro and
Costa Rican Jairo Arrieta.
Higuain tallied 11 goals last year to go with nine assists, while Arrieta
netted three goals and added four assists in his first full season in
Last season, Columbus won both meetings with D.C. United by a combined score
The Sports Network