Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Back Up Plan

I received my DC United season tickets today and what already seemed like a mean joke was augmented by the news that United waived Danny Szetela. So, even if there was going to be a season, I would be traveling to RFK to watch a team largely devoid of first-division talent. In other words, I would be forced to go watch the KC Wizards. Awesome.

Fortunately, there is football in my future. While United got rid of another talented player that was going to draw decent wages, Crystal Palace Baltimore announced that Charlton academy-product Paul Robson will return to the club for their inaugural season in the second division. Robson will be joined by Val Teixeira, Pat Healey, Zack Flores, Andrew Marshall, Stephen Basso, Jordan Seabrook, Dan Lader, and Neal Vranis as returning players from last year.

A number of other players won't be coming back, including American University's Larry Mark, who impressed two years ago but did not make as much of an impact last season. Also gone are UMBC's Kevin Gnatiko, Howard's Alex Ughiove, and Towson's Machel Millwood. The most surprising change is the absence of Bryan Harkin, who seemed to be a fixture on the roster. Nevertheless, its good to read that Shin Harada will be welcomed back to the club if his MLS ambitions are not realized (otherwise known as the Mbuta approach).

The new second division is bound to be more interesting by Minnesota's announcement that their net will be minded by Louis Crayton. It is perhaps unfortunate that the Liberian international did not get an opportunity to play for CP Baltimore -- I would have been thrilled by seeing a player with that much passion play for one of the teams I support locally -- but NSC is an acceptable alternative. The predecessor club last year featured Maryland's Rich Costanzo (now with Rochester), and DC United alums Quavas Kirk (now with Portland) and Rod Dyachenko (now playing for the Baltimore Blast).

Let the MLS's misguided war on players' rights hamstring the season... we're looking forward to professional soccer elsewhere. CP's got a preseason friendly with West Virginia University at UMBC on Saturday. Its nice to have options.

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