2018 Fantasy Primer DC United Preview

DC United

Updates to Original Post

  • Yamil Asad is on his way to DC. After proving his value for Atlanta in 2017, expect him to not be satisfied as a depth signing. He’ll push for a spot in the starting XI and he’s likely to get one.

2017 DC United Review

The 2017 season was one that every DC United fan would like to forget. Key players were injured, the offense could not create, and the defense could not prevent. The only good news is that the black-and-red were NOT the worst team in all of MLS. One more win ensured that title went to the LA Galaxy. Several new signings during the secondary transfer window gave some hope for a 2016-esque turnaround, but the season was too far gone. A lot of changes are needed for 2018, but perhaps a new stadium will create a mental reset that is so desperately needed.

Transaction Watch

OUT: Bill Hamid, Sean Franklin, Chris Korb, Lloyd Sam, Marcelo Sarvas, Patrick Nyarke, and Deshorn Brown.

IN: Frederic Brillant, Darren Mattocks, David Ousted, Ulises Segura, and Junior Moreno.


DC United has kept the core of their 2017 defense intact and have made significant offensive upgrades. The one major defensive change is replacing long time keeper Bill Hamid with Vancouver’s David Ousted. I see no loss of quality here and fantasy managers should not hesitate to consider Ousted a top keeper option.

The black-and-red’s midfield has had a significant boost. The first is Costa Rican international Ulises Segura who is a box-to-box midfielder and should added needed creativity. Next is young Venezuelan national team holding midfielder Junior Moreno who should help shore up the defense and help with transitions. Finally, Hungarian international Zoltan Stieber. Technically, Stieber was acquired in 2017, but his late addition left the playmaker with little time to show his skill. Look for him to be a good source of fantasy points in 2018.

Even with all the additions DC United still has more work to do. In addition to new personnel, recent trades have also given DC an injection of TAM, GAM, and another international roster spot. More additions to defense, a new DP attacker, or quality depth signings are all a possibility. Keep an eye open because this team can only get better!

Expected/Predicted Starting XI Picture

Head coach Ben Olsen experimented with a few different formations during 2017. He started with a 4-1-4-1, moved into a 4-3-3, and finished the season in a 4-2-3-1. I think we’ll see DC stick with the 4-2-3-1 at the start of 2018, but Ulises Segura will add some flexibility. He’s a box-to-box player so I expect a lot of movement which will give the look of a 4-1-4-1 at times.

Tactical Analysis

Let’s be honest, when it comes to tactics, nothing really worked for DC last year. With few changes to its back line, the expectation is that DC will make a push for an attack minded style of play. The key to this transformation is Luciano Acosta. Last year, Acosta was frequently frustrated due to injuries and poor team chemistry. To address the frustration, expect Acosta to be surrounded by 3 of DC’s best midfielders.

Stieber played under 600 minutes in 2017, but is bursting with attacking quality scoring 1 goal and earning 1 assist in his limited playtime. Paul Arriola also joined DC late in the season but has demonstrated his speed and honed his work ethic on the USMNT. Fantasy manages should expect both players to build upon the goal and assist totals from 2017. The final piece to the midfield puzzle is newcomer Segura. At Saprissa, he was quite the playmaker scoring 5 goals and earning 4 assists in 2017. So don’t expect him to just hang around in the middle. He’s going to be a mobile box-to-box, deep lying play-maker, or whatever you want to call him type of player.

As for the striker position…. Ben Olsen is still looking for the final piece and the goal is a DP signing. Lacking that, expect Patrick Mullins and Mattocks to rotate depending on the needs of the week. Mullins is a player who knows how to create space for himself when his back is to the goal. He had a great year in 2016, but a poor 2017 due mostly to injuries. Mattocks relies more on speed and jumping ability to break down a defense and become a target for crosses into the box.

On defense, not much has changed, but the center back position is deep. This could mean that DC plans to play around with a 5 man back line, especially during long road stretches. Fantasy managers will want pay attention to starting XIs to get a heads up for this switch.

2018 Expectations and Closing Fantasy Thoughts

The only way DC can go it up and I expect them to do better in 2018. Not 2017 Chicago Fire good, but better. For fantasy managers, keep an eye on their attack. And by that I mean the midfield. They have several players with the potential for big points under the right conditions. Defense may also offer good point potential, especially if they trot out a 5 man back line. Overall, I don’t expect any DC player to immediately before a regular for most Fantasy managers, but they are also not players who should be quickly overlooked.

About Dashdar

Founder of MLS Fantasy Boss, moderator of /r/FantasyMLS, freelance contributing writer for fantasy.MLSsoccer.com. Passionate about all things MLS and growing the Fantasy MLS community.

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