With Florida and Arizona on the check-off list, DC United’s preseason now goes to Charleston, SC for the annual Carolina Challenge Cup. This year, United will be looking to defend their 2011 title in the four club competition with the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, and local club Charleston Battery. They also won the competition in 2010. While the overall result doesn’t matter (yes, it would be nice to win a third time), this tournament will be another key factor in determining the last few roster spots for the beginning of the year. DC is still bringing in trialists, including 20-year old Guilherme from Brazilian Serie A club Botafogo.
The new Designated Player Hamdi Salihi has been cleared to join DC United. According to reports, he arrived in Washington, DC on Saturday and will join the club in time for the Charleston tournament this upcoming week. Salihi becomes DC’s second DP on the roster and looks to be the main spotlight for the rest of preseason. It should go without saying that there are high expectations for the Albanian striker this season. If this highlight video is any indicator, Salihi could be a major factor inside the 18-yard box this season.
Speaking of DPs, DC United could find itself with a third DP this season depending on how contract negotiations with Dwayne De Rosario go. The reigning MLS MVP is in the last year of his contract which means DC is needing to get this situated before the season starts to avoid any mid-season drama. While DC fans would like to keep that third DP slot open to avoid the “Third DP Luxury Tax,” the possibility is there for De Rosario to become a third DP. Most fans probably wouldn’t mind this as long as De Ro remains on the club roster and continues to put up good numbers.
Bill Hamid and Perry Kitchen will be getting a more unique preseason. They were both called up by Caleb Porter for the U-23 training camp that will take place from February 19-March 1. Both are favorites to make the Olympic squad, and each experience will be even better. Porter and Kitchen already know each other from their days together at Akron, and Hamid has had multiple call-ups with the senior National team already, including one cap in a 1-0 win over Venezuela in January. Kitchen has experience with other youth national teams which includes being a captain for the U-17 squad and playing in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. I expect to see both this summer in London.
Trialists currently with the club:
- Lance Rozeboom (Supplemental Draft Pick)
- Ryan Richter
- Seth C’deBaca
- Alfred Martins
- Andrew Dykstra
(image courtesy of DC United)