2015 Preseason Roster Analysis

DCFC’s new approach of announcing its roster one or two players at a time makes for more excitement than a one-day info dump and has kept fans engaged over the course of several weeks, but it has also prevented me from putting together a comprehensive look at the team until now. A few more players will surely be added over the course of the next month and early on into the season, but we finally have a pretty clear picture what of the 2015 squad will look like.

Obligatory gripe: college programs are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to listing player positions. They typically shove all field players into one of three categories – F, M, or D – though even casual observers of soccer can see that individual positions are far more nuanced than that. I’ve done my best to list newcomers where I think they best fit in, based on whatever information I’ve been able to find. (Much of the credit in this department should to go to Sean/Juice/RiseAM) Hopefully I’ll have a better success rate than last year, when I projected Will Mellors-Blair at wing and Tyler Arnone and Colin McAtee as center-mids.

Finally, this piece is intended as an overview of the team as a whole, specifically its strengths, weaknesses, and depth. The season preview will give more attention to individual players and their particular qualities.

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*Newcomers listed in bold

FORWARD/STRIKER

  • Wade Allan
  • Tyler Channell
  • Charlie MacInnes
  • Will Mellors-Blair
  • James Murphy
  • Zach Myers
  • Jordan Tyler (played in 2013)
  • Brendan Woodfull

Position Overview: This position is much less of a concern than it was heading into the 2014 season when Zach Myers and Wade Allan were the only regular contributors returning. Myers and WMB are an excellent starting duo, but an impact sub/spot starter needs to emerge to fill the hole left by Shawn Claud Lawson. My money is on Charlie MacInnes, formerly of Quad Cities, but I may be overly influenced in this opinion by his laser strike from distance in February’s open tryout.

WIDE MIDFIELD/WING

  • Jeff Adkins
  • George Chomakov
  • Colin McAtee
  • Cyrus Saydee

Position Overview: While the wing position is currently lacking in numbers, there is no deficiency in talent. Cyrus Saydee has developed into the team’s heartbeat, and he still may be just entering his prime playing years. Jeff Adkins emerged as a key contributor around the middle of last season, doing things like this:

adkins

George Chomakov has shown well in his limited playing time and could make a similar jump if given the opportunity. Colin McAtee spent much of last season at right fullback and played very well there, but I think he’s more valuable to the team as a right-mid or even possibly as a forward.

CENTER MIDFIELD

  • Latif Alashe
  • Danny Dragoi
  • Dave Edwardson
  • Connor Furgason
  • Colin Helmrich
  • Ross Hendry
  • Locky Savage
  • Kevin Taylor
  • Spencer Thompson
  • TJ VanSlooten
  • Troy Watson
  • Matt Ybarra

Position Overview: Center-mid has become a yearly logjam, with a core group of 5-6 players constantly pushing for the two available starting spots. Alashe-Edwardson may be the best combo, but there’s very little separation between them and the group of Taylor/Thompson/Savage/VanSlooten. Ross Hendry is the other Quad Cities refugee who made the team via tryout, and it will be interesting to see if he can crack this established lineup.

FULLBACK

  • Jon Evans (R/L)
  • Zeke Harris (R)
  • Alex Isaevski (L)
  • Zach Schewee (L)
  • Travon Rogers?

Position Overview: With last season’s defensive Swiss Army knife, Nick Lewin, no longer on the roster, fullback looks a little shorthanded at the moment. The left side should be just fine since both Zach Schewee and Alex Isaevski could very well step in and start at left back for any team in the Midwest Division. Zeke Harris is a quality right back, but he missed most of 2014 due to other commitments and his backup is uncertain. Colin McAtee may again be pressed into duty here by necessity.

A wild card is Travon Rogers, a Lansing high school product who hasn’t been officially announced as part of the roster, but seems to have the requisite documentation.

As a player who has yet to enter college, it will be difficult for him to make an immediate impact, but merely making the cut is a testament to the level of talent he possesses.

CENTERBACK

  • Seb Harris
  • Bennett Jull
  • Ryan Keener
  • Michael Lamb
  • Andre Morris
  • Josh Rogers

Position Overview: Last summer, Michael Lamb became the preferred starter alongside Josh Rogers, but he will face strong competition for his spot this season. Recent MSU graduate Ryan Keener (also a team captain and 2014 All-Big Ten 2nd teamer) may have the best chance to unseat him, and all three new additions bring a good bit of size with them (Keener: 6’2”, Jull and Morris: 6’3”).

GOALKEEPER

  • Bret Mollon
  • Eliott Tarney

Position Overview: Maintaining the status quo. Mollon is the clear #1 and Tarney started a few games in 2014 as his backup. One or two more keepers will surely be added for depth.

TEAM OVERVIEW

Compared to last year’s preseason roster, this one looks stronger, particularly at striker and centerback. The one soft spot appears to be right back, but Zeke Harris is a proven commodity and there is still more than a month before the first competitive game to figure out the depth situation.

Overall, the levels of talent and experience on the team make a top-4 finish in the division, and the playoff spot that comes with it, a very attainable goal. The key for City will be using those qualities to navigate a tricky unbalanced schedule and to show more consistency down the stretch than in 2014. They have the players to compete with any team they come up against, and will certainly be among the preseason favorites to win the Midwest.

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