Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
With the season ending rather prematurely, speculation is inevitable. Here's a brief preview of what I think we can expect over the offseason.
Some (not all!) veterans depart
The word "some" here can't be emphasized enough. There's no way Jason Kreis and Garth Lagerwey willingly "blow up" the squad - it only leads to significant problems and makes rebuilding nigh impossible. I'm confident that some - maybe most - of our important players will remain.
But some big names may be on their way out. I'm not going to speculate on just who those players may be - not at this point - but there will be some fairly significant concerns about some players' performances across the totality of the season. Expect plenty of that during the offseason, but right now, it's a lingering thought.
It's all rather inevitable, as the allocation money handed to sides that lose in the first round of the playoffs is nothing to shout at, and without an entry into CONCACAF Champions League, the pursestrings will be necessarily league-tightened.
Young players move up
With veterans departing, younger players will be handed opportunities to impress and win valuable minutes. In defense, those younger players have already been blooded: Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Chris Schuler have proven their reliability, while academy center back Carlos Salcedo looks to be joining the side.
In midfield, players like Sebastian Velasquez, David Viana and Enzo Martinez will all be clamoring for minutes in 2012. The three attack-minded players are joined by Yordany Alvarez, who isn't terribly young, but will be hoping for more time as well, and Jonny Steele will be looking to improve on a reasonable start to his MLS campaign.
Depending on departures, Luis Gil could be playing a more prominent role, but given that he will be almost certainly graduating from the Generation Adidas program, his not inconsiderable salary hit will certainly spark some questions.
Bring in new blood
With veterans departing and youngsters hoping to make the jump in contention, the squad will certainly need a few more players in it to shore things up. Where exactly those players will be on the pitch depends largely on departures, but I can't imagine too many defenders will be brought in - not with the rise of Kwame and Chris. The midfield could see some changes, and as such, I've got to imagine we'll see somebody brought in there. Up front? Well, that's a big question, and I'm not yet prepared to answer that. Soon.