In the build up to the new season we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what DC United will be looking to achieve this year.
DC United enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in 2014 as they finished at the top of the Eastern Conference despite being bottom of the pile the season before. Head coach Ben Olsen guided DCU to the playoffs for just the second time in seven years and he will expect to see his squad back there this season.
Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 1st – P34 – W17 – D8 – L9
What needs to change this year?
DC United don’t need to change much this year as the challenge will be trying to remain the same. They lost the fewest games in the Eastern Conference last year and ended the season on a unbeaten run of six games. Their playoff disappointment against the New York Red Bulls will still be on the minds of supporters and the key is that DCU try and remain the best side in the East.
That will be considerably more difficult in 2015 with the New England Revolution likely to be right up there again, while expansion clubs Orlando City SC and New York City FC will hope to enter MLS with a bang. The Black and Red will start the new campaign without last term’s top goalscorer Fabian Espindola, as he is suspended for the first six weeks of the new season, and it is crucial that DC United hit the ground running without last year’s talisman.
Key changes to the squad:
Ins: Markus Halsti – Defender/Midfielder, Jairo Arrieta – Forward, Dan Metzger – Midfield, Michael Farfan – Midfield
Outs: Joe Willis – Goalkeeper, Samuel Inkoom – Defender, Lewis Neal – Midfielder, Kyle Porter – Midfielder
Key player: Bill Hamid – Goalkeeper
DC United conceded the joint-lowest goals last year as they shipped just 37 through 34 regular season games. The man that can take the majority of credit for that achievement is USMNT goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who enjoyed another excellent season and was named as MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for 2014. Hamid kept 10 clean-sheets in 30 appearances last year and will need to be at his best again this season.
One to watch: Steve Birnbaum – Defender
Another defensive star for DC United, Steve Birnbaum enjoyed a memorable debut season in MLS and he was recently rewarded for a fine campaign with a USMNT appearance against Chile. Birnbaum made 21 appearances in 2014 but will expect to be one of the first names on the team sheet this season. Expect bigger and better things from Birnbaum in 2015.
Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 6th
DC United may have been the strongest team in the Eastern Conference in 2014 but this year MLS is at its strongest ever and they will struggle to replicate their conference-winning performance this time around. If they can remain as solid defensively they will be in a strong position but teams like Orlando City and New York City will enter the league with plenty of attacking power and it will be tough to keep as many clean-sheets in 2015.
How will DC United fare in 2015?