D.C. United acquired rugged defender/midfielder Brandon McDonald from the San Jose Earthquakes today in exchange for allocation money. The 25-year old was originally drafted in 2008 by the Los Angeles Galaxy and played 16 games for them before getting picked up by the Quakes in 2009. McDonald spent his career with the Quakes alternating between defensive midfield and central defense before finally settling into the center half role.
McDonald had only started 8 of the Quakes 15 matches this season before falling out of favor behind center halves Bobby Burling and Jason Hernandez. With big things still expected of former Wake Forest central defender Ike Opara, McDonald’s future seemed limited in the Bay Area. McDonald can be classified as a tough physical defender very much in the mold of former United central defender Julius James who was given his release in the preseason.
With the hamstring injury to starter Dejan Jakovic, United has been reliant on the rookie tandem of Ethan White and Perry Kitchen to help hold the fort until Jakovic’ return in a few weeks. While White and Kitchen have performed well for the most part, sporadic lapses of concentration from both players have cost United goals, wins and points in the standings. Having a more physical presence is also something United is looking for as they have been victimized twice this season by big physical strikers in Will Bruin of Houston and Steven Lenhart of San Jose, both of whom registered hat tricks against United this season. McDonald easily fits the bill in combating some of MLS’ more physical players.
With the addition of McDonald and the return of Jakovic in the near future, United will once again have to reshuffle their lineup to avail themselves of the talents of White and Kitchen. While White seems to be a central defender for the future, Kitchen has shown his versatility in playing right back as well as his preferred and most effective role as a defensive midfielder. With the continual poor play of Clyde Simms, is it time to see the young Akron phenom in the middle of the park?
I believe the time is now for that move.