With the acquisition of Conor Doyle on loan Thursday, D.C. United made the striker the fourth new face added to the locker room since July began. The common denominator? They’re all younger than 25, and they’re all American.
Doyle, 21, is a 6-foot-2 forward who has spent three years with Derby County of the English second tier since leaving Creighton University, making 23 appearances for the club. He had been training with the Colorado Rapids, who were looking to sign him. But league protocol mandated that Doyle be placed into a weighted lottery, which United won. The U.S. youth international’s loan extends to the end of the season.
United earlier this month also added midfielders Jared Jeffrey (23), Luis Silva (24) and Collin Martin (18). In that span, defender-midfielder Alain Rochat (30) was sold to Swiss club BSC Young Boys and defender Brandon McDonald (27) was traded to Real Salt Lake.
With United at 2-13-4, hopes of a playoff berth are long gone. But the silver lining is coach Ben Olsen can audition his wealth of young talent and build for the future, giving these players first-team minutes they otherwise would struggle to find.
In fact, United could conceivably roll out a functional starting 11 comprised entirely of promising American players younger than 25:
Bill Hamid; Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Conor Shanosky, Taylor Kemp; Nick DeLeon, Jared Jeffrey, Collin Martin, Luis Silva; Casey Townsend, Conor Doyle
And that goes without mentioning 17-year-old forward Michael Seaton, backup goalkeeper Joe Willis, and foreign youngsters Kyle Porter (Canada), Sainey Nyassi (Gambia) and Syamsir Alam (Indonesia).
As I discussed with DCist’s Pablo Maurer and Goal.com’s Seth Vertelney on the latest episode of our “Open Wide for Some Soccer” podcast, this should make a woeful United side fun to watch the rest of the way, if nothing else.