DC United Is Most Improved Team Going Into 2014

By Matthew Evans
Ben Olsen
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 MLS season for DC United was not what anybody had expected after their stellar 2012 season. In 2012, DC United finished in second place in the Eastern Conference on 58 points before losing in the conference finals to the Houston Dynamo. The club finished in last place out of the entire league in 2013 with 16 points and with a minus-37 goal differential; the lone bright spot being their victory in the US Open Cup over Real Salt Lake.

After the disappointment of 2013, the club has made all of the right moves to put themselves back among the elite of the Eastern Conference. DC United signed what could be the final piece of the puzzle going into 2014.

Christian Fernandez is a 28-year-old left back who will bring experience playing in La Liga. He began his career with Racing Santander where he spent five seasons with the club making 90 league appearances. His playing time diminished towards the end of his time at Santander and Fernandez signed a two-year contract with UD Almeria where he helped the club return to La Liga.

Fernandez is the sixth defensive player brought in by Ben Olsen during this offseason addressing the club’s need to improve drastically on the back end. The club gave up 59 goals which is the third-worst in this proud franchise’s history.

The approach made by Ben Olsen defensively has been nothing short of genius improving the club both now and for the future. It started during stage one of the MLS Re-Entry Draft when DC selected right back Sean Franklin from the Los Angeles Galaxy and center back Bobby Boswell from Houston. United then went on to select 24-year-old Nana Attakora from San Jose Earthquakes before trading for Jeff Parke from Philadelphia Union and drafting Steve Birnbaum with the No. 2 pick in the MLS SuperDraft.

While Boswell and Parke are both over 30, Attakora and Birnbaum are still fairly young. They will surely grow under the tutelage of the veteran defenders on the squad.

The club was also able to make a significant upgrade to their attack with the trades for attacking midfielder Davy Arnaud from Montreal Impact, striker Eddie Johnson from the Seattle Sounders FC and the Re-Entry Draft selection of Fabian Espindola from the rival New York Red Bulls. These three players combined to score almost as many league goals (19) as the entire DC United club did during the league (22).

While it is still too early to tell if these changes will work for DC United, it is apparent that they will do what they can to make a return to glory for the club and for their fans.

Matthew Evans is a soccer writer for RantSports.com, “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google

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