Photo by ISIphotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
Amid the hype surrounding D.C. United's blockbuster acquisition of Dwayne De Rosario on Monday, the club's trade with San Jose for center back Brandon McDonald a few hours earlier largely flew under the radar.
Considering United has allowed the second-most goals in the league through 15 games and has been forced to start a pair of rookies — Perry Kitchen and Ethan White — in central defense in recent weeks, bringing McDonald into the mix could be just as or more crucial as the addition of De Rosario.
"He's a physical guy, and he's got a leadership quality to him," D.C. coach Ben Olsen said. "He's a vocal guy. I think he can concentrate, he's tuned in — all the qualities you want in a center back."
McDonald, a fourth-year veteran, seems ready to embrace his role as one of the most experienced members of a young United back line.
"For me, I'm always willing to learn, and I can learn from them and they can learn from me," McDonald said. "I can pay it forward from what I learned from [San Jose's] Jason Hernandez and other back lines I've played with, so it's good. I love learning, I love trying to teach people who are willing to listen to me."
Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:
After starting the 2011 MLS season in fine form, striker Diego Chaves has been held off the score sheet in league play since April 23. But he did take a step toward again finding his goal-scoring rhythm Tuesday, scoring the lone goal during Chicago's 1-0 U.S. Open Cup win over the Rochester Rhinos.
"I was very happy with the performance of Diego," interim coach Frank Klopas told MLSsoccer.com. "Not only did he play well and hold the ball underneath and make a lot of plays, but he also got a goal, which I thought was important for his confidence."
It's a debate that happens every year in leagues across the world: Are certain teams better off being eliminated from cup competition so they can focus on the league campaign? After Columbus was knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup by the Richmond Kickers on Tuesday, that question was discussed by veteran midfielder Danny O'Rourke.
"Maybe not advancing is a blessing in disguise for this team, but you hate to see it for a lot of the young guys because those are minutes in a game," O’Rourke said to MLSsoccer.com. "They're getting valuable experience."
Houston on Wednesday released defender Jordan Graye, a second-year player yet to make a league appearance for the Dynamo.
Selected by the Portland Timbers in the expansion draft and shipped to Houston for a first-round pick in the 2014 supplemental draft, Graye saw time in one U.S. Open Cup qualifier for the Dynamo. The University of North Carolina product started 20 of 30 games for D.C. United as a rookie.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
As New England looks ahead to its trip to Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday to face Real Salt Lake, Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber doesn't think think the team should necessarily deviate from it did during last weekend's 2-1 loss at Seattle.
"Some of the things we need for the result, we actually did in Seattle, which is get a goal, get a goal early, get it before the other team scored," Feilhaber said. "We did some things the right way. Even when they scored the goal, they had better possession but they didn't have many chances and they weren't creating that much, which is exactly what you want on the road."
NEW YORK RED BULLS
Although New York's swapping playmaker Dwayne De Rosario for box-to-box midfielder Dax McCarty should free up room for striker Thierry Henry to drop deeper into midfield, the move also clears considerable cap space for the Red Bulls.
"We are going to do more moves this summer, there is no doubt about it, so whatever we can get of money in the cap is good for us," Sporting Director Erik Soler said to the New York Times. "And we will move more things around to do what we believe is to the benefit of the team for this season and for the future."
In late May, the Union rolled to a 6-2 triumph in Toronto as Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz sat on the bench and Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga formed a dynamic partnership up top. If Le Toux had his way, he would be starting at forward — instead of wide midfield — and alongside Mwanga — instead of Ruiz — more often.
"[The game in] Toronto showed what I can do with Danny," Le Toux said to the Delaware County Daily Times. "It's one of our only games where we played together since last year. It's what I want to bring, but it's something for the coaches to decide. We are winning, so I suppose it is working."
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
With captain Davy Arnaud expected to miss six weeks after undergoing hernia surgery Wednesday, Kansas City's season of hard luck seems set to hit another speed bump. While coach Peter Vermes notes it's a tough blow, he said his team will simply try to carry its momentum of late forward and hope different players step up.
"We’re on a good run right now," Vermes said to MLSsoccer.com. "We have to keep it going. This is what you have a squad of guys for. Different guys are going to be called upon in different times. That's part of the game, and part of what we do."
Between Toronto's introductions of new Designated Players Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans and the club's return to the win column with a 1-0 win over the rival Vancouver Whitecaps, there was, for the first time in a long while, plenty of reason for enthusiasm at BMO Field on Wednesday.
"It feels like a very good day overall for Toronto FC," goalkeeper Stefan Frei said to the Globe and Mail in Canada. "Besides the win, which is an obvious thing, with the additions of the new players I'm very, very excited. … Danny and Torsten are very experienced, and I think that's maybe what has been lacking with our team a bit."