Monday, November 2, 2009

RIVER OR LIFE: The forwards

The first round of River or Life with the DC United front office has gone pretty much as expected so far, with Tom Soehn just 0% Life, Dave Kasper over 50% but not convincingly, and Kevin Payne somewhere between 50 and 100. Now let's see where the forwards on the roster stand.

The thing about playing River or Life is that its somewhat up to the voter's discretion how you want to interpret the two choices, and I think that's going to come into play for a lot of us with some of these forwards. For example, if you think that the team should retain Luciano Emilio but only at a substantially decreased salary from his 2009 earnings, is that a vote for River or a vote for Life? That's totally up to you. Just remember in general, voting Life means that you want the player back with the team next year, and voting River means that you don't want to see him in a United jersey any more.

Since winning the MVP award in his first season in MLS, Luciano Emilio has failed to approach the 20 goal mark that he set in 2007. His 11 goals last year and 10 this year still make him the highest scoring player on the team, but it's questionable whether or not United has been earning a high enough return from Emilio to justify his $750,000 yearly salary.

The team captain Jaime Moreno constinues to be one of the most visionary players in the league, and even though his playing time has decreased substantially, Moreno's 9 goals and 3 assists seem to indicate that he's not done yet. This 14 year veteran is eager to return to the team for at least one more season.

After a promising start to his MLS career in 2008, Boyzzz Khumalo's 2009 season was unfortunately shortened due to a nasty wrist injury. He hasn't quite been able to nail down a regular starting role with the team yet, but has looked good at times playing mostly as a substitute either at forward or on the right wing.

Ange N'Silu started the 2009 season strong with United, earning a goal and an assist in some early appearances filling in for Moreno or Emilio, but he faded pretty quickly from the team's plans, due most likely to his apparent lack of teamwork with other players. Many of us continue to question the team's decision to let Francis Doe depart in favor of N'Silu for roughly the same salary.

Tiyi Shipalane won a spot on the United roster late in the season after impressing the coaching staff when playing against us with the Harrisburg City Islanders in the Open Cup. He didn't get much of a chance to establish himself since joining the team on loan, but his speed and creativity could give the team a different attacking style from what we are used to seeing.


DCU Curmudgeon said...

Judging from the poll results so far it looks like Jaime is something of a sacred cow. Look, I love the guy too, but come on!

Shatz... said...

I'm more surprised about Emilio currently being 86% River. Anyone want to sound off on why you voted that way?

Jeremy said...

Emilio is clearly on the decline and is getting worse every year.

Even at a reduced salary, having him on the field means not giving starting time to some of the younger talent on the team, like Pontius or Tino, who could fill that target forward role and are still on the upswing of their careers.

Jaime is still effective. If he is going to play as a super-sub, I definitely think that he should be paid as a super-sub, instead of a starter. Also, the armband needs to go to someone who is on the field more than 50% of the time.

Did sacred cow mentality enter my thinking, absolutely. However, I still think that Jaime is an effective member of the team and a player that can change the dynamic of a match simply by entering. There are definitely much bigger needs for the off-season than replacing the best player in MLS history.