- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 17, 2007

D.C. United will need to dig deep into its roster as it faces a long year chock full of games, with the potential to play in five tournaments. Previous coach Peter Nowak faced criticism last season for not rotating his players enough and not relying more on his bench. United veterans looked tired and beat up with injuries when the playoffs finally arrived.

New coach Tom Soehn says that players who didn’t get much time in recent years will emerge this season.

“You guys don’t get to see them on a daily basis,” Soehn said. “The guys we have who are going to step up have been here a couple of years, and the only reason why they didn’t get a chance to shine is because there were a couple of veterans ahead of them. Spots have opened up and now it’s their turn to do business.”

One player expected to come out of the shadows and make an impact this year is Justin Moose. The midfielder from Wake Forest and the club’s top draft pick in 2006 played just one minute for United last season. His introduction to the professional game was tougher than expected.

“The games are faster and more physical than the college game,” Moose said. “You have to come out with a nothing-to-lose attitude or else you’ll be left out.”

So far this year his superiors have been impressed with his efforts.

“We’ve got some youngsters we think will really emerge — guys like Justin Moose who has really come back to us with a different mind-set he had when he joined us,” United president Kevin Payne said. “He’s become a guy that Tommy [Soehn] has no doubts about putting in a game.”

Moose, 23, has already played a role this year, coming off the bench to help United secure a win in the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup.

“I got a lot of experience last year, but now I’ve come in with more confidence and I’m familiar with the system of how we play,” Moose said. “I can’t control my playing time, but I’ll work my hardest to get in the top 18 and if I get to play I’ll make the most of it.”

Another player seeking to have a breakout season is Jeff Carroll. While his older brother Brian — a United veteran — has solidified a place in the U.S. national team pool, Jeff is determined to claim a spot on United’s first team.

“I’ve been working very hard in the offseason,” Carroll said. “I’ve been doing everything I’m meant to do and I hope it pays off.”

Carroll, from Springfield, was drafted by United last season from St. John’s. He made two appearances on the senior team in 2006, making one start and playing all 90 minutes in a game against the New York Red Bulls. The 23-year-old says he plays a different style than his brother, who in three seasons in MLS has become a solid defensive midfielder.

“I’m probably more risky and daring,” Carroll said. “[Brian] is a very conservative player. We play similar positions and growing up we had the same coach so we do a lot of the same things. I would love to be playing with him in the first team. He’s worked hard and deserves his success.”

U.S. women — The U.S. women’s team seems to be in good shape for the World Cup in China this September. In a tuneup for the finals, the Americans beat China, Finland, Sweden and Denmark to claim the Algarve Cup in Portugal this week. Midfielder Carli Lloyd, who scored in all four games, was the MVP. The Americans now are unbeaten in 39 games, 38 of them since coach Greg Ryan was hired in 2005. The team will kick off a six-game 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Send-Off Series before leaving for China in June.

Big guns arrive — U.S. team coach Bob Bradley has called up 11 players from the 2006 World Cup team for the exhibition games against Ecuador in Tampa on March 25 and Guatemala in Frisco, Texas, three days later. Defenders Jay DeMerit (Watford), and Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), along with midfielder Benny Feilhaber (Hamburg), get their first call-ups and will be hoping to make their debut for the team.

Freedom build — The Washington Freedom Soccer Club has signed forward Christie Welsh to its 2007 roster. Welsh had seven goals and 15 points for the U.S. Women’s National team in 2005.

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