Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Szetela to DC United?

In fairly big news by MLS/USA soccer standards, Danny Szetela appears headed for a return to MLS, and with the need to bolster its roster, DC United is the front runner to land him

Szetela began his career with the US residency program and then Columbus Crew. Playing in partnership with current US stalwart Michael Bradley in the US midfield at the 2007 U-20 World Cup, he had a breakout performance with three goals, earning him a tranfer to Racing de Santander in La Liga. He's since been playing on loan at Brescia in Italy's Serie B, where he's somewhat dropped from the broader US player pool consciousness.

I'm excited about the prospect of his return to MLS, and DC United specifically. Any playing time is good for developing young players, and Szetela is only 22 years old. Though DC United has some midfield depth, with players like Clyde Simms and Ben Olsen already playing defensive mid, they would be great professionals to learn the position from. Olsen also has ongoing injury concerns, what with his two decrepit ankles and all.

DC has three open roster spots, and under MLS's stupid and confusing allocation rules has second choice of claiming Szetala after FC Dallas (who does not appear to have interest). Olsen only has so many minutes left in that wild man's body, so hopefully Szetela could be a long-term replacement. It would also give DC United a very nice trio of young players, including Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius (not to mention Canadian national team player Dejan Jakovic).

While I'm not going to start advocating that he can play himself back into consideration for a World Cup roster spot in light of the depth of US defensive midfielders, his combativeness and range make him a player to watch for the future. He always seemed to play better for the US than with Columbus from what I remember, so hopefully this time around he'll take the next step forward for DC or whichever team claims him.

Here's a video of the US thrashing Poland in the U-20 World Cup, including two goals from Szetela (at the :30 and 3:30 marks).

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