To the MLS draft, D.C. United uses his first choice in defense and makes exchanges for the goalkeeper


Akeem Ward, from Vienna, Virginia, poses with MLS commissioner Don Garber after being selected by the D.C. United in the first round. (Mike DiNovo / USA Today Sports) (Mike Dinovo / Usa Today Sports)

CHICAGO – D.C. Last Friday he faced the urgent need to deepen the back-line by selecting Akeem Ward from Creighton, a right-back in Northern Virginia, in the first round of the MLS draft. The club also added a less needed position, acquiring veteran goalie Chris Seitz, formerly Terrapin of Maryland, in a trade with the Houston Dynamo.

Ward rated Ward as the best candidate for the right-back and claimed him with the choice n. 14, strengthening a back-line body with only four other healthy bodies (none of which is a natural choice on the right side).

The organization remains on the market for an appetizer in that position, but with Ward, there is, at least, a perspective in the mix.

"It's obviously a position of necessity," said general manager Dave Kasper. "We are very thin in both rear positions, so it was a selection with this in mind."

Ward could also provide coverage on the left side, where the return initiator Joseph Mora is the lone option.

Ward is from Vienna, Virginia, played club teams at Prince William Soccer and Bethesda Soccer Club, and attended McLean High School for a year before enrolling in a private school in Minnesota. He was once a ballboy for United's matches at the RFK stadium.

"See the players coming out and remain in awe," he said, reflecting on those opportunities. "And now it's surreal to think that I can be one of those players that kids could watch."

It seems that Ward began his career with Loudoun United, a second division team of Leesburg that D.C. is launching this spring. Given the shortage of the right-fenced sides of D.C., however, it could receive its opportunity in the first team ahead of schedule.

From the United's right-back body, last season, Nick DeLeon signed with Toronto FC, Oniel Fisher is recovering from ACL surgery and Chris Odoi-Atsem is being treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma.

At the moment, Paul Arriola, a striker who provided coverage in that position at the end of last season, is the favorite.

In addition to seeking further help from the right-back, Kasper said that United is in the market for "probably a starting point". Steve Birnbaum and Frederic Brillant are the incumbents. The team also needs someone to support the forward Wayne Rooney; United did not keep Darren Mattocks.

There is a great abundance of goalkeepers after the Seitz trade, which involved United by sending a second choice of 2020 to New England for a second rounder on Friday and the third and fourth rounder in 2020. D.C. he then faced the choice of Friday in Houston for Seitz. Dynamo will keep almost half of Seitz's salary on his books; earned $ 155,000 last year.

"Our goalkeeper situation is very solid, which is important in a long MLS season," said Kasper. "We are becoming a guy that we know very well and can still perform at high levels, and the price is right."

Seitz, who turns 32 in March, will compete with the newly acquired Earl Edwards Jr. to support Bill Hamid. Edwards, 26, could end up with Loudoun United.

Last year, Seitz started five early season games before succumbing to Joe Willis and made six appearances in the regular season. Previously, he spent three years with Real Salt Lake, one with the Philadelphia Union, seven with FC Dallas.

Seitz started more than 10 regular season games three times: 2010, 2014 and 2016, when he was in the lineup in 28 of the 34 games for Dallas and released 10 shutouts.

With the arrival of Seitz, David Ousted, the initiator of last season until Hamid returned from Denmark, is out of his mind. United is eager to lose his $ 375,000 guaranteed contract by exchanging it or reaching an agreement that allows him to sign overseas.

United signed William & Mary William & Mary's forward striker William (Mary Springfield, Virginia) to a home contract – will begin his career at Loudoun United – and is in talks with Maryland central defender Donovan Pines (Clarksville, Md.) On a national agreement.

The negotiations with the Argentine club Velez Sarsfield continue on midfielder Yamil Asad who returns to United, said Kasper.

In the draft, Frankie Amaya, UCLA midfielder, was the best of the top picks, supported by the FC Cincinnati expansion. The Virginia Commonwealth striker, Haji Said, was the number 2 of the San Jose earthquakes.

Two players from the NCAA Maryland champion went to Minnesota in the first round: goalie Dayne St. Clair at number 7 and left Chase Gasper (Gonzaga High School) at number 15.

Maryland defender Andrew Samuels and midfielder Amar Sejdic are back in the second round, respectively at the 33rd place overall in Houston and the 34th in Montreal. Georgetown defender Brendan McDonough was number 35 in Vancouver.

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