Player name: Karsten Hanlin
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Last club: University of Denver
One thing you need to know
Karsten Hanlin and Reagan Dunk spent the past five years as teammates at the University of Denver, the first year as red shirts and then four straight years as starters. Their record was 59-13-11 across that time and Denver went 383 days with out a loss before falling to Wake Forest in the 2016 College Cup finals.
What he brings to the team
A hometown product from Centennial, Hanlin played for the Colorado Rapids development academy and Cherry Creek High School before moving on to Denver. Karsten spent his entire collegiate career as an attacking midfielder and scored five goals in each of his final two seasons. After scoring four times in set piece situations during his junior year, he became the primary set-piece taker for his senior season.
Hanlin has demonstrated the ability to ignore pressure and orchestrate play on the attacking side of the ball at the collegiate level. Karsten also possesses a tenacity and willingness to switch over to defense in an attempt win the ball back quickly when lost.
When asked about his set piece skills and tendency to score game winning goals, Hanlin merely says “I would say that part of it is being in the right place at the right time, but it takes a lot of hard work to get to that spot.”
Why you should be excited
Used to the demands of playing at a high elevation, Hanlin should adapt well and early to playing in Rio Tinto and has been relatively injury free during his youth and collegiate career. Although central midfield on the Monarchs appears to be in the hands of Sebastian Velazquez and, possibly, Jose Hernandez down from RSL, Karsten seems more than able to join and elevate a contest for playing time and opportunity.
Keep an eye open for how well Hanlin seems to adapt to the USL level and the tendencies of his new teammates as opportunities for him to see time on the field emerge. Coach Mike Petke has been very willing to ride the hot hand in the past and shuffle his lineup to make room for players who can put the ball in the net and fight for possession.
Predictions for 2017
- Karsten will force his way into a starting spot at some point during the 2017 season.
- Hanlin will deliver at least one set-piece kick that results in an assist or goes directly into the goal.
- Karsten will demonstrate excellent fitness and come ready to play despite the altitude and the increased schedule of games and travel in the USL.