Thursday, March 5, 2009

Are we ready?

The team is down in Charleston, with just a little over two weeks until the start of the season, and with very few questions left to answer. We've got our MIDUN. The developmental roster is set, with Milos Kocic (the new Shawn Crowe or the new Troy Perkins?), Brandon Barklage (the new Dan Stratford or Ryan Cordeiro?), and Ryan Miller (the new Ryan Miller?) signing. The senior roster is just one step away from being set, with Anthony Peters beating out Kyle Veris for a reserve central defensive role.

But did he also beat out Domenic Mediate? Conventional wisdom says yes, but I don't think this is settled yet. Afterall, why invite Dom down to Charleston if we don't have any slots left? 23 out of 24 contracts have been finalized, yet we've got 26 players down in sunny SC competing for the final spot. And while it might be fun to debate the virtues of USL1 standout Nic Platter and the 32 minutes of experience of James Thorpe, don't count out the Dom! Although the acquisition of Jakovic frees up Devon McTavish to be our number 1 flexible role player (a spot that Mediate might have filled if McTavish was stuck at CB all year), I wouldn't mind adding Mediate into the midfield, where we've only got 7 players currently.

The question for me comes down to Kocic. His settling for a developmental contract is troubling. If he were good enough to demand a senior contract, he would. So is he good enough to be Crayton's only backup before we have to turn to the MLS keeper pool? And maybe more importantly, is the club committed to Louis Crayton being our long-term goalkeeper when his contract is up this summer? If the answer to either one of these questions is no, then unfortunately Mediate may have to be sacrificed in order to shore up that role with either Platter or Thorpe.

1 comment:

Fullback said...

Spot on with Kocic. Settling for the Dev Dollars just doesn't fill you with confidence that he'll be able to leap into the breach should Crayton get injured or depart in the summer. It would be a pretty big gamble to go with just Kocic-Crayton and then find out that Kocic can't hack it when he's needed.

I'm also wondering if Mediate is Olsen-insurance. Despite desperately wanting Olsen to be able to pick up significant minutes for us (a boat I'm sure we're all in!), most of what I've read seems to fly in the face of that. Maybe this weekend is the test to see if he can log major minutes and not be laid up for two weeks afterward? If he's not going to be able to contribute significantly, does that open the door for a versatile player like Mediate who can provide emergency cover pretty much anywhere on the pitch? Perhaps.