DC United announce 2021 MLS preseason lineup, Andy Najar on trial
DC United announced their initial preseason roster for the 2021 season, this morning marking the official start of training camp for most MLS teams.
United currently have 26 players under contract, including 25 at camp (Paul Arriola remains on loan with Swansea City until May). The club have also invited former United players Andy Najar and Rodney Wallace to trial camp, while 2021 second-round pick Logan Panchot is with United as they weigh between offering him an MLS contract or start it with Loudoun United in the USL Championship. level. In an interview with reporters today, Loudoun head coach Ryan Martin added that DC may end up calling some Loudoun players to camp depending on the team’s needs.
United’s preseason schedule has included a trip to Florida for years, but due to both the late start of camp and reduced travel during the pandemic, United will spend most of the training at camp in the district. There will be a five-day trip to Cary, NC, March 15-20, which will end with a game against an opponent yet to be confirmed.
United will then return home to face Loudoun United at Audi Field on March 26 before their next two preseason games take place in the suburbs of Philadelphia. They will first face the Union on March 31 at Subaru Park, before a friendly on April 4 against the NYCFC at the Power Training Complex (the Union’s training center in Philadelphia next to Subaru Park). Their preseason final will take place on April 10, with a trip to the Red Bull Arena to face the New York Red Bulls.
For now, all matches are expected to be played without spectators, while United say they will announce how to watch matches from afar at a later date.
The pre-season program is as follows:
DC United 2021 preseason schedule
|03/08/2021||The preseason officially begins|
|03/15/2021||The team goes to NC|
|03/20/2021||Game against to be determined|
|03/21/2021||The team returns from NC|
|03/26/2021||Match against Loudoun United (Audi Field)|
|03/31/2021||Game at Philadelphia Union (Subaru Park)|
|4/4/2021||Game against NYCFC (Power Training Complex – Chester, PA)|
|4/10/2021||New York Red Bulls game (Red Bull Arena)|
Training camp will last just under six weeks, with the regular season set to begin April 17 following delays related to the collective agreement and the pandemic. The players got permission from MLS to come forward on a voluntary basis last Monday for physical exams, Covid-19 tests and a seven-day quarantine. Players were able to train individually over the past week, but coaches and technical staff were not allowed to attend these sessions.
CONCACAF Champions League MLS teams (Columbus crew, Philadelphia Union, Portland Wood, and Atlanta united) and the final of the Voyageurs Cup (Toronto fc) were able to start this process in mid-February.
Najar and Wallace have been known to show up for a preseason tryout for quite some time now. Najar, who turns 28 later this month and has played in a World Cup for Honduras, is looking to land a contract at the club where he started at 13 in United’s academy. Najar ended up winning the MLS Rookie of the Year award in 2010 before a $ 3 million transfer to Belgian powerhouse Anderlecht in 2013.
During his time in Belgium, Najar made 157 appearances, although knee and thigh injuries hampered the back half of his six-year stint with them. Yet he was Anderlecht’s Player of the Season in 2015-16 and 2016-17. He spent 2020 with LAFC, playing eight games but never really making the roster as a regular.
Wallace, 32, spent last fall training informally with the Black and Red as he recovered from hip surgery that cost him much of 2019 and 2020. One Costa Rican international who spent much of his youth in Rockville, near the University of Maryland, Wallace aims to return to the club where he began his professional career in 2009.
Both players are said to be vying for a place on the roster as fullbacks, with Hernán Losada potentially considering playing with three fullbacks. However, both Najar and Wallace have experience playing offensive roles on the wing, or also in the center midfielder, potentially adding valuable depth.
United will enter the preseason with a few injured absentees. Steven Birnbaum and Bill Hamid underwent off-season surgeries which, according to a report by Steve Goff at Washington post, should keep them away for all (Birnbaum) and half (Hamid) of the preseason. Felipe Martins (ACL) is several months away from being available for games, although his recovery appears to be going slightly ahead of schedule. Additionally, a recent post from Frédéric Brillant on social media indicated that he was undergoing surgery for a thumb injury, although it is not known if that will take the French veteran away from the pitch.
United’s full preseason roster is as follows:
DC United preseason roster as of 3/8/2021
|7||Paul Arriola||On loan from Swansea City|
|11||Yamil Asad||Under contract and in camp|
|15||Steven birnbaum||Under contract and in camp|
|13||Frédéric Brillant||Under contract and in camp|
|6||Russell canouse||Under contract and in camp|
|35||Michael DeShields||Under contract and in camp|
|ten||Edison Flores||Under contract and in camp|
|33||Jacob Greene||Under contract and in camp|
|31||Julian Gressel||Under contract and in camp|
|24||Bill Hamid||Under contract and in camp|
|N / A||Brendan Hines-Ike||Under contract and in camp|
|9||Ola Kamara||Under contract and in camp|
|21||Jon kempin||Under contract and in camp|
|8||Felipe Martins||Under contract and in camp|
|28||Joseph Mora||Under contract and in camp|
|5||Junior Moreno||Under contract and in camp|
|N / A||Andy najar||Trialist|
|27||Moses nyeman||Under contract and in camp|
|3||Chris Odoi-Atsem||Under contract and in camp|
|N / A||Logan panchot||Unsigned draft pick at camp|
|30||Kevin paredes||Under contract and in camp|
|16||Adrien perez||Under contract and in camp|
|23||Donovan Pines||Under contract and in camp|
|29||Yordy Reyna||Under contract and in camp|
|1||Chris Seitz||Under contract and in camp|
|17||Kimarni smith||Under contract and in camp|
|50||Erik Sorga||Under contract and in camp|
|N / A||Rodney Wallace||Trialist|
|22||Griffin yow||Under contract and in camp|