A big question for any Eastern Conference team as the 2022 MLS preseason begins

A big question: Can Hernan Losada wring that same level of dedication from the troops again?

DC United was so much fun to watch in the Argie manager’s debut season, and a big part of what made them so much fun was Losada’s buy-in going up and down the roster. Julian Gressel and Ola Kamara were both given a new lease of life and Andy Najar’s rebirth was one of the stories of the year. Kevin Paredes burst onto the scene and Moses Nyeman started making a dent. They were all playing at a million miles an hour, and this is really the good stuff.

But the week after week of emptying the tank took its toll, so the Black-and-Red hit the wall in early October. They ended the year with a 2-4-1 final month that cost them a trip into the postseason.

But forget that last month and think about it: I’ve talked to a lot of players over the years who will honestly tell you how hard it is to bring that same energy season after season to a system like Losada. That’s why the Red Bulls, even in their heyday, had so much roster turnover, and there’s a reason the Union is willing to do the same with all but a few key veterans. Maximum Overdrive requires a sacrifice of fresh blood to keep humming.

It doesn’t look like DC will have that though. As of now, the roster is largely the same group that fell short in 2021. The hope is that together they will find five percent more to give, but the truth is that in a system like Losada’s, most players find five percent less in year 2.

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