Thursday, January 18, 2007

More about Luciano Emilio (updated) -- D.C. United has brought in a real winner, with new striker Emilio. Despite his obvious talent, a young Emilio struggled to establish himself with FC Cologne in the Bundesliga. He played a couple of seasons with a second-division German side, and one year in Brazilian football, before making his fortuitous move to the Honduran league, where his star finally burned brightly.

Since his 2002 move to the Honduran League, Emilio has been a goal-scoring phenomenon. He has led the league in scoring in four of the seven seasons he put in there (Honduras has two full (18 game) seasons each year). He scored an incredible 83 goals, averaging more than one tally for every two games played. *I have seen 91 league goals cited, but this total seems to include 8 goals tallied in seven games, during the 2006 Central American UNCAF club tournament -- where Emilio won the Golden Boot award (Emilio tallied 8 goals in 2 earlier UNCAF tournaments). Emilio helped carry his teams to three league championships in those seven seasons.

Also mixed in there, for Emilio, was one season with Queretaro, which was playing in the Mexican Second Division -- Emilio scored 10 goals in his lone Mexican season, and led Queretaro to the Division crown for the 2005 Clausura season.

It is obvious that Emilio is a winner, with a knack for putting the ball in the net. He scores with amazing regularity, in every competition in which he has played over the past five years. With United, being paired up front with Jaime Moreno, and having league M.V.P. Christian Gomez in the midfield, Emilio should provide the D.C. squad with a fearsome attack.

Emilio won't put fannies in the seats in the way that Beckham will. With respect to impact on the pitch, however, Emilio's addition to the D.C. United roster might prove to be the most consequential signing of the year in M.L.S. This past season, United bowed out of the playoffs because the team struggled badly, beginning with their August slump. There were breakdowns on defense, but United's biggest problem was the players were suddenly unable to get the ball into the opposition goal. Emilio's consistent finishing touch should fix that problem.

The team still needs to add a talented someone in the midfield or defense, to effectively distribute the ball and start their attack. In addition, it would be nice to see the team add a little depth to their attack -- having lost both Eskandarian and Adu. They could survive with Wilson, Simms, and possibly deRoux, in reserve, but if one of the top strikers goes down, United will really feel that loss. So, there still are a couple of needs to fill, but adding Emilio is a big step along United's climb back to the top. Way to go, D.C. United!!

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