United will use friendly as a testing ground

United will use friendly as a testing ground
July 12, 2013, 9:00 am
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D.C. United signs youth academy prospect

D.C. United is going through a transition period. With only ten points in MLS play United is making changes and there will be more to come. For now a home international friendly against Chivas of Guadalajara will offer an opportunity to showcase some of the Black and Red’s newest players.

“It is a great opportunity to put on a good face for DC United.,” said head coach Ben Olsen. “I would rather have this game than a bye week. There is not the anxiety of league play or Open Cup play, but it will help us to try and continue to find a rhythm and test some new players.”

United will need those new players with Dwayne De Rosario and Nick De Leon still sidelined by injuries. In addition Kyle Porter remains with Canada at the Gold Cup.

Luis Silva acquired this week in a trade with Toronto FC involving allocation money will likely get a start at forward. Drafted fourth overall by Toronto in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft Silva played one season in 2008 with Chris Pontius at UC Santa Barbara and his senior year scored 17 goals for the Gauchos.

“He (Silva) is an exciting player who shows a lot of quality around the goal, Olsen said.  “He can provide that final ball or get on the end of things. He is a good young addition to our corps.”

It is also possible that Jared Jeffrey could get a start tonight alongside John Thorington in the center of the midfield. The international transfer window opened this week clearing the way for Jeffrey to make his United debut. In 87 appearances with German club FSV Mainz’s fourth division side, Jeffrey scored 4 goals.

“I don’t want to over hype this kid,” Olsen emphasized. “He is a good hard working American kid who has learned his trade in Germany. That experience will serve him well. He is a two-way midfielder who is good passer over short and long distances.”

The matchup against Chivas will also mark the debut of midfielder Collin Martin. Signed this week after a season at Wake Forest, Martin is a graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School who spent four years in D.C. United’s Academy program. He is the team’s sixth home grown player signed since 2008.

“Collin is an exciting attacking mid who plays behind the forward,” said Olsen “He has a lot of technical qualities that a lot of young players don’t have.   He is very confident and good passer. I am looking forward to seeing him against Chivas.”

Another United Academy product set to make his first team debut is forward Michael Seaton. In eight games this season on loan with the Richmond Kickers Seaton has provided three goals.  Originally from Jamaica Seaton is 17 years old and attended Central High School in Captiol Heights.

For Chivas the match against United is the final stop on its preseason tour. The eleven-time Mexican league champions defeated Club America in Las Vegas and Pumas in San Jose. Chivas opens its Liga MX campaign  July 21st and is trying to recover from a difficult Clausura season that ended  in early May with a 17th place finish.

Chivas is the only club in Liga MX that only plays with Mexican players. The commitment to Mexican is one of the reasons Chivas is considered to be the country’s most popular team. By some accounts Chivas is second in the world to Flamengo of Brazil in number of fans with over 30 million.

“I love these games,” Olsen said. “When I was player I probably should have rested but I loved playing in them. I think I took it for granted. I played on national teams and overseas, but for most players this is their only chance to test themselves against some of the best players from other countries.” 

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