What better way to end 2008 than to post one of my patented roster resets. Things have changed dramatically around here with the new roster rules for 2009, but I think it's important to take a look at where United stands at the moment, if only just to highlight how many question marks there are going into next season. Since the MLS hasn't yet posted the official roster regulations for 2009, we're going to operate under the temporary assumptions that teams will still have 8 international player slots, and that 25 will still be the cutoff age for the Developmental roster.
Here's what we think we know:
Senior roster (now 20 slots): 1 Emilio, 2 Moreno, 3 Gallardo, 4 Fred, 5 Quaranta, 6 Khumalo, 7 Guerrero, 8 Simms, 9 Vide, 10 Burch, 11 McTavish, 12 Janicki, 13 Crayton, 14 Wells. 6 slots remaining.
Developmental roster (now 4 slots): 1 Cordeiro, 2 Thompson, 3 Carroll, 4 Zaher, 5 Thorpe. 1 player over the limit - No room for draft picks.
International players (assumed 8 slots): 1 Emilio, 2 Gallardo, 3 Fred, 4 Guerrero, 5 Crayton. 3 slots remaining.
It's hard to do this kind of analysis at this point in the year, because I've made a lot of assumptions in the info above. Joe Vide was relegated to the Developmental roster for some strange reason last year, but he seems to be a likely candidate to move up to the Senior roster in 2009. The same should be true for at least two of Cordeiro, Thompson, Carroll, and Zaher, to make room for our 2009 draft picks. James Thorpe is the only guy who I think should definitely stay on the D-roster. Ryan Miller and Ibrahim Koroma might be the most likely casualties of the reduction to the Developmental roster. Also, it's hard to say whether or not Khumalo is here on a green card and therefore exempt from international player status (similar to Moreno), but I'm assuming he's got a green card since he went to college in the US and has been playing here ever since.
So where does that leave us? What jumps out at me the most is that we've got 3 available international player slots. That's bound to get Kasper and Payne pretty excited. One of those slots could get used up pretty quick if Peralta chooses to re-sign (which I think he will), but we've certainly got the roster space and salary cap available for Kasper and Payne to do their usual and take a gamble on some other foreign players too. We certainly hope they do a better job at talent evaluation than last year. Because there's much less room for error this year with the smaller rosters.
Just because you see 6 available senior roster slots available, doesn't mean that we've got room to spare for unproven South Americans. Keep in mind that we've also got the question marks of Bryan Namoff and Quavas Kirk, who are out of contract, and Ben Olsen and Dominic Mediate, who may or may not return from injuries. If, conservatively speaking, 2 out of those 4 guys return, and Peralta returns, and say Cordeiro, Thompson, and Pat Carroll are promoted, our 6 available senior roster slots has suddenly diminished to 1.
This offseason is starting to look a bit bleak.
With 2008 being a year that most United fans would like to forget, this will probably be my final post of the year. Next time we'll look forward to 2009 and focus on what the team needs to do to improve its chances in the new year.