- - Thursday, January 14, 2016

BALTIMORE — Two months after a stagnated attack led to an early playoff exit for D.C. United, the club injected the unit with a dose of youth and bravado.

United selected Syracuse midfielder Julian Buescher with the 11th overall pick in the MLS draft on Thursday, plucking the German-born attacker after trading up from the 13th slot.

“He’s versatile, and I think he’s one of the best players in college soccer,” coach Ben Olsen said. “Very comfortable, constantly moving, has a nose for goal, can play a final pass, has a nice arrogance about him — he’s what we need.”

Although the all-ACC selection, who compiled eight goals and 11 assists during his sophomore season this past fall, sees himself as a two-way central midfielder, Olsen said Buescher also could play as a withdrawn forward or winger.

“Most of the time I switched between all of those positions,” Buescher said. “Wherever I have the best opportunity to play, I go there.”



Buescher figures to provide cover for veteran midfielder Davy Arnaud, who saw his 2015 season ended by lingering concussion symptoms. Olsen said Arnaud plans to take part in preseason, which kicks off later this month, as the coaching staff monitors the 35-year-old’s status.

United selected Buescher after acquiring the 11th selection from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for cash. D.C. promptly recouped much of that money, sending the 13th pick to Orlando City for cash and the 32nd selection, which it used on Clemson defensive midfielder Paul Clowes.

The series of moves punctuated United’s interest in Buescher, who sparked Syracuse’s run to the College Cup this past fall and will not count against the salary cap because he signed a Generation Adidas contract with MLS.

“He’s a pretty mature kid,” Olsen said. “You watch him play and there’s not a lot of issues from a confidence standpoint. He knows what he is, he knows what he’s about.”

Added Buescher: “It’s a nice club and it’s a great city and a great coaching staff. That’s the greatest part to have — someone who trusts you and believes in you. Going from there makes it a little easier.”

United’s 43 goals scored in 2015 placed the club 11th among the league’s 12 playoff teams, and D.C. exited from the postseason after being shut out by the New York Red Bulls over two matches in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

With the team yet to announce any marquee offseason signings, Buescher could be in line for significant minutes when United kicks off 2016 with a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Mexican side Queretaro on Feb. 23.

“In the first round we always hope that they’re going to help out in some fashion in the first year,” Olsen said. “I think he’s going to see some real minutes. We’re going to have to rely on some young guys this year.”

Note: The Philadelphia Union selected Georgetown defenders Joshua Yaro and Keegan Rosenberry second and third overall, respectively. Maryland midfielder Tsubasa Endoh went ninth to Toronto FC.

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