Happy Thursday, everyone. I’m returned from the USMNT matches in Nashville yesterday, and I’m pleased that hoodie szn is in full effect here in the DMV. As I organize my hoodie closet, here’s the news from yesterday.

Becky Sauerbrunn, Sophia Smith return as USWNT October roster named (SSFC)

Becky Sauerbrunn and Sophia Smith return to the USWNT roster ahead of friendlies against Colombia next weekend. The Washington Spirit see their usual contingent of Aubrey Kingsbury, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan, Ashley Hatch, and Trinity Rodman called into the squad for the October window.

Lionel Messi tops MLS salary list with record $20 million (ESPN)

Lionel Messi is making some mega money in MLS, with him getting the largest salary in league history at $20 million. Lorenzo Insigne is 2nd on the list with $15.4 million, which is the 2nd-most in league history.

WATCH: Charlotte drop points late, playoffs down to Decision Day (MLS)

It all comes down to Decision Day as Inter Miami and Charlotte FC draw 2-2. That leaves 5 Eastern Conference teams to play for the final 2 playoff spots.

Inter Miami to visit China in November for international tour (MLS)

Since Inter Miami is eliminated from playoff contention, they’re headed to China. The team will do a postseason tour in November, playing 2 matches in China.

USA to face Trinidad & Tobago for 2024 Copa América place (ESPN)

The Concacaf Nations League group stage for League A was completed last night, and the USMNT will face Trinidad & Tobago in the Nations League quarterfinals next month. The first match will be in Austin on November 16th, with the away leg for the USMNT coming on November 20th. It will be the first time since that fateful night in Couva that the USMNT returns to Trinidad to play, this time with a berth in the 2024 Copa América on the line.

Neymar: Brazil forward to have surgery after anterior cruciate ligament injury (BBC)

Neymar will be out for an extended period of time for club and country after tearing his ACL in Brazil’s defeat to Uruguay Tuesday night.

Barca president charged with suspected bribery (ESPN)

Joan Laporta is in trouble, as the FC Barcelona president is charged with suspected bribery in a scandal where Laporta reportedly made payments to to companies linked to the former vice president of Spain’s refereeing committee.

Wolfsburg in shock Champions League loss to Paris FC (BBC)

Paris FC continues to shock everyone in Europe, as they defeat Wolfsburg to advance to the UEFA Women’s Champions League group stage.

Sandro Tonali: Newcastle confirm midfielder is being investigated over alleged betting activity (BBC)

Sandro Tonali is involved in an investigation over betting activity, Newcastle acknowledges. Tonali could be suspended for a long time if the investigation yields any activity that goes against the rules.

Jenni Hermoso: Spain forward returns to squad for first time since World Cup final (BBC)

Jenni Hermoso is back in the Spain roster for the first time since the Women’s World Cup and the ensuing scandal that erupted when embattled Spain federation president Luis Rubiales kissed Hermoso without consent as the players were collecting their winner’s medals.

That’s it for today…enjoy!

ByDonald Wine II

Donald Wine has been a soccer fan since he first kicked a ball as a kid. He moved to DC in 2007 and quickly joined the soccer scene, helping to establish the DC chapter of the American Outlaws and serving as one of the capos and drummers for over a decade. He is currently the manager of Stars & Stripes FC, but this community is where he got his start, and he continues to contribute to anything DC soccer related for this site because he enjoys it so much.

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Will Nelson

Former USMNT player and current Toronto FC Captain Michael Bradley is retiring at the end of the season: https://theathletic.com/4971153/2023/10/17/michael-bradley-retires-toronto-fc/

When he plays on Saturday he will have 287 MLS matches all time and he finished 3rd all time in USMNT appearances with 151.

Last edited 1 month ago by Will Nelson

I know he took a lot of grief because he sometimes played for his Dad. But MB is a great model of how someone who doesn’t have much in the way of physical gifts can end up being a really good guy on your team because of his intelligence and work load and team contributions.

I”m not saying this because of his Dad. But I’d think that MB would make a helluva coach at some point. He always struck me as very thoughtful (this really emerged with his play in the Netherlands). He was exposed to a wide range of coaches and playing styles around the globe. Very good at preparation and detail (like his Dad).

Bryan McEachern

He was superb in the 2010 world Cup.


Typically the off-season is a slow period for both the Spirit and DCU–no games, out of season. But I think this off-season is going to be pretty big. For DCU you’re talking about the new GM, some discussion then about what happens with Kasper, a new coach, the SuperDraft, an empty DP spot, and probably a lot of roster turnover to reflect the change in coaches and inevitably some players just moving on. For the Spirit, you’re talking a new coach. The draft. I would hope a renewed emphasis on looking for international talent. Also Kang has such big plans for the Spirit (and the combination of women’s teams she’s buying in to). The expansion drafts (and of course we’ll lose some players to that). Preparation for the Olympics and the new USWNT coach (and with 5 USWNT players, a huge impact on the Spirit). And then some inevitable player turnover that comes with a new coach.

I think the DP team will be looking forward to the start of the regular season in MLS/NWSL so they can have a break in the workload! (okay, I’m just joking, just pointing out how a busy off-season this season is likely to be).

Brendan Cartwright

According to the MLSPA salary release, it looks like United has shed most of its sheddable salaries. Taxi is gone. Palsson is gone. Ravel is off the books. O’Brien is gone.

It looks like Derrick Williams is probaby on his way out, so that frees up $800,000. I think we could get a CB replacement for less than that outlay.

There’s a big knock about United spending, but not spending wisely. Martin Rodriguez, for interest, is the third highest earner on the active roster. Sure, him getting hurt wasn’t management’s fault, but he hadn’t looked super impressive before that either. He’ll have the chance to show his quality next year, but that still seems like a question mark. The next highest earner is Cristian Dajome. He brought a lot of energy and positional variation to the squad, but is that worth $900,000? I find it hard to imagine that the team will be able to move him (but maybe our new GM is really good?). Mohanad Jeahze was another top earner who was hurt most of the year. He could potentially be productive too, but will he be better than Eric Davis? Well, he’ll be a lot younger than Davis, so there’s that. Nigel Robertha was in the top 10 earners as well. He scored one goal.

A bunch of those big salaries remaining are still going to be here, I think. Robertha seems like the one that’s easiest to move. He might be on the cusp of earning a green card, but he’s never shown much realization of his potential. Anyway, the roster is basically still a mess. That’s why a new GM is coming in. I’m hopeful that they look towards young additions. I’ve been beating the drum for a Young DP, which will help create some room for those big contracts for mediocre players. A Young DP would also allow us to bring in two more U-22 players to go with Pirani (or three new U-22 players if we don’t sign Pirani). Those four potential young players, plus Teddy KDP, and potentially improvements from Kristian Fletcher, Matai Akinmboni, and maybe even Jackson Hopkins and Jacob Greene (or even our top 10 draft pick!) would give us a good young core. We should get one more decent year out of Benteke and Klich, and then we can move on from them and really build around that core. The new GM and coach will have the opportunity to really build THEIR team.

There’s not a ton coming up through the academy, but maybe Gavin Turner, Graham Jones, and Ignacio Alem will be some future signings.

Anyway, the team looks messy but salvageable with some good moves. I think we could see some massive housecleaning too. Andy Najar seems like he’s making noise to leave. Donovan Pines needs a new deal. Might Russell Canouse leave? Could one of the goalkeepers move on? Depending on the appetite for it, a new GM could move a number of players by eating a bunch of salary, just to try and clear them off the books quicker. That might make for a rockier 2024, but potentially a better 2025. We’ll see.

Will Nelson

I think Birnbaum was our last solid pick up via the draft. I don’t think any of our draft picks since him are still around on the team or even in MLS.

Brendan Cartwright

Nope, none of them are. Chris Odoi-Atsem ended up being fairly decent, but he’s gone from MLS now. Looking at our potential GMs from Columbus and Nashville, Columbus has done pretty decently in the draft, getting Patrick Schulte at goal, and Max Arfsten recently. Nashville got a good pick with Jack Maher as the #2 pick, but hasn’t really had an impactful pick since then. They’ve done a fair amount of trading of draft picks (as has United).

Moving the draft pick is certainly a very real possibility (especially because there’s not currently an MLS Next Pro team to stock). Getting allocation money, or international slots could definitely be more desirable for the current roster. There’s just always the chance that a good piece can come from the draft (like Duncan McGuire this year). You can’t count on it, but you never know!


I’m hoping we get an update about our MLSNP team. I’d like to get our academy prospects a place to get some eyeballs on and retain players we would normally send to Loudoun (Loudoun is still affiliated but becoming it’s own thing slowly).


Sounds about right, that’s why I wasn’t too upset when they traded their pick for Ruan (who ended up having a decent year).

We don’t even have an MLSNP team at the moment, so unless we are sending picks to USL with Loudoun, I don’t see us wasting any cap space we have directly giving Superdraft picks a first-team contract.


Robertha’s contract ends this year. So he will be off the books. Honestly it should be a good offseason, about 1/3 of the roster is coming back next year (not including players who could have their option picked up and/or resign).

The new GM should be able to bring in 14-15 players, potentially less if they do retain some of the players who still have options. But I’ll wait for a GM hire before I get excited about anything cause even then we still need a coach too.


It’s basically almost impossible to bring in that many players — to turn over half the roster in one offseason. As Brendan notes, there are 3 strong prospects in the Academy, and DC United should be trying to hang on to them, I think.

There are definitely some big salaries that can be carved off. Sorry to see Williams go, but maybe the team can use that cap space to bring in a couple of players of comparable ability, or at least better than Hines-Ike. Robertha must go. I’d say the same for Dajome, given his wage, but he does have moments of quality. I would bring back Canouse, even if he’s no all-star, unless they have someone BETTER lined up.

I guess Rodriguez has a deal still for next year, and an option for 2025. I wasn’t impressed, but let’s hope he shows really well next year and team decides to pick up the option. Beyond that, I’m not sure there’s anyone I’m excited to see for 2025. Maybe Ted Ku-Dipietro if he can keep improving. Perhaps some of the other kids will grow into the role — I thought Akimnboni looked pretty good in that last game, and Greene has had a few decent moments, and Fletcher has had even more good moments. Maybe Donovan Pines will do well enough to get a new deal, and maybe Sargis will start looking like an MLS player. If Pirani is extended, he’ll be here. Basically, I’m seeing maybe 20%-25% of the roster — but probably not even the best players. Maybe 1/3 of the roster, if they bring in those 3 young men from the Academy. Lots of work ahead.


I forgot Jeahze. He does have a deal thru ’25, with an option for ’26…

Bryan McEachern

Turn over is not an important challenge. Teams built from scratch often outperform our team.


I agree with a lot of what you say. I differ on a few points.

First, Klich’s game is such that he’s not a great A-mid now but he is a fine box-to-box mid or even D-mid in a double pivot. And I think we can get 2 good years, maybe more out of him. Benteke–I think his year was phenomenal. I don’t expect him to repeat that. But someone who is a threat in the box in the air, a good target man who lays the ball off smartly–I think that’s at least 1 more year, maybe two. But I don’t see him being our leading scorer next year–which raises the importance of getting a DP with some serious offensive ability.

I thought we signed Pines to an extension. Which is why I found Rooney’s lack of PT to Pines in the final stretch to be curious–as if they team management and Rooney had differing views on Pines.

I’m not trying to be a wild optimist here. But I think a lot comes down to two primary factors (other than things like–did we sign a good coach, is the team healthy, does Benteke get an offer to go someplace else for more money–stuff we can’t predict at this point). First factor is: do we get a good goal scorer added (assume that’s our 3rd DP)? Second, do we tighten up defensively (we were crap the last 10 games of the season–very sloppy, bleeding goals, giving up leads). I don’t think we have the league’s best defensive talent but by no-means are we the worst. We should have been much better defensively. If we get positive answers on those two points (and the second one doesn’t require a remake in terms of talent), we are a significantly better team.

Agree about a young DP.

Again, I am not trying to be a wild optimist here. We’re aren’t Philly or Dallas when it comes to youth talent. But we do have some young guys who can contribute or be future contributors. And we have a lot of the pieces. And frankly, Klich ain’t no A-mid anymore (not on a full-time basis) and Benteke goes cold at time in front of goal. But both are great DP additions–total pros, good teammates, leaders, major contributors–guys you can build around. And the gap between 90% of the teams in MLS is incredibly small.


That last point is certain – we certainly deserved to drop out of the playoffs this year based on form, but other than Philly, I’m not sure I felt like most of the other teams we played down the stretch were really that good either. There’s a reason we’re above the line until other teams play on Saturday, and it’s not just down to us.


There’s potentially a ton of money available, at least at the scale of mid-roster MLS players.

We’ve offloaded already this year approximately $3.56M from the combination of Palsson, Taxi, and Ravel. If the reports of Williams and Najar both potentially leaving are true, that’s another $1.3M. Between these players, we’re almost up to $5M to spend.

Knowing our front office, they’ll want credit for not doing things. So let’s be optimistic and say that the recovery of Rodriguez and Jeahze are like signings – that’s $1.9M in salaries that were not able to really be used this year. If they play up to even a portion of their values, that’s a serviceable addition to the squad.

I agree that it’s likely Robertha leaves. I also think that we will likely choose between one of Bono and Miller. Miller is the more expensive of the bunch. If both of them leave, that’s another $1M to spend.

Add in whatever our TAM, GAM, etc buydown funds are, and the new GM has a decent amount of money even before making hard decisions. Santos at almost $400k, Priani at almost $600k could be another $1m if the new GM decides Pirani is someone else’s person and wants a new direction. Add in figuring out what to do with Dajome’s almost $1M, and we’re almost at $8M (plus almost $2M in returning players) that could be in flux. Including the returning players, that’s about half the roster spend that could be on players that did not play a significant role this year. There’s room. Hopefully the right person comes in to do something with it.

Bryan McEachern

I like your thinking, but I am partial to keeping both goalies in the fold (pun intended).

Will Nelson

Old Glory have announced a new signing for the 2024 season. OGDC have signed center Tommaso Boni from Italy. Boni has 11 caps for the Italian National Team, 113 caps for United Rugby Championship (URC) side Zebre Parma. Boni also recently became eligible for the USA Eagles (US national team) and has 2 caps with the US.

Will Nelson

The US and Canadian Rugby National teams will be joining Spain and Brazil in Spain for a tournament later this year. Both the US have announced a travelling squad of 29 for the tournament.

Loosehead Prop Jack Iscaro and new signing Midfielder Tommaso Boni are in the US squad from OGDC.


Canada meanwhile has announced a 43 man squad to prepare for the tournament from which a final squad of 32 will be picked.

From OGDC you have second rower Kyle Baillie.


Last edited 1 month ago by Will Nelson

In USMNT news, Adams is going out for an extended period with a hamstring injury/surgery. We seem to do ok without him against most teams, but whatever we’re doing won’t work against the top teams, especially since no one in the entire pool seems able to replicate his role. Berhalter needs to find a plan B.

Talonesque #

I’m going be a bit contrarian to your last statement, I think we’re in as good of shape as we’re going to be to cover for Adams being unavailable. A 4-2-3-1 with Musah and McKennie as the two behind Reyna looks really good, and clarifies roles very effectively. I’d argue that our collapse against Germany had far more to do with Reyna coming off and converting to a 4-3-3 with all hinge players in the midfield- no one was holding, and no one knew how to relate to each other. Additionally, Johnny C. and Maloney look like good options to be a more defensive option in that two. I’d also note that Malik Tillman will be back from injury to spell Reyna so we can maintain that shape, as well- Tillman was in spectacular form for PSV before getting a knock right before the friendlies.

In short, I think Adams is more in danger of losing his place in the lineup than the lineup is in danger without him.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x