- Jason Davis

Charlie Davies just made it a bit harder for D.C. United to say no to a loan deal. Davies scored and provided an assist to Joseph Ngwenya in United's 5-1 victory over the Canadian U-20s in Fort Lauderdale. Even considering the competition, United can't ask much more of Davies than to spark the offense when given the chance during his week-long evaluation period. The performance doesn't guarantee that United will keep Davies, but it does give fans legitimate reason to think consummating the loan is in the team's best interest.

That is if doing so wasn't already a fait accompli as long Davies proved he was physically fit. My belief: Charlie Davies is already a United player for 2011 short of official confirmation. United might wait the full week while running Charlie through his paces and observing his integration into the team, but I can see no reason they wouldn't keep him around and several why they would. It's difficult to create buzz around a team coming off of a last place finish the season before. Davies has allowed United to do that, proving his value is as much, if not more, about marketing as it is about his contributions on the field.

I'm certain Ben Olsen doesn't want to have a player on the roster that can't help him win, and Davies is sure to take up a nice-sized chunk of United's salary budget. While I'm not suggesting the call isn't ultimately Olsen and his staff's, I suspect serious pressure will be applied from the front office. Aside from a minor bump of Dax McCarty-related joy, most of the good feelings resonating in United Land are down to the excitement Davies brings. Highly regarded rookie defensive midfielder/defenders are nice, and maybe Perry Kitchen will ultimately prove more important to how United finishes than Charlie Davies; unfortunately, that will have little impact on how much excitement United can create in DC for the new season.

I'm sure I'm reading too much into how Ben Olsen answered questions about Davies on the league's podcast and the media conference call Friday. Perhaps Olsen the head coach, with all the responsibility the position brings and the realization that statements will be closely scrutinized, is a different animal than Olsen as player or assistant, where we was more free to let fly with his usually gregarious personality. In each instance when speaking about Davies, Olsen has been very careful with his words. Is that a nod to keeping expectations low, or is he being careful not to stray too far from the company line?

A subjective appraisal of Olsen's demeanor isn't the best evidence, I'll admit. I could be hearing things that aren't there or twisting Olsen's tact to my own preconceived belief that Davies isn't, and probably wasn't even before today's goal and assist, going anywhere.

Maybe no decision has been made either way, and Davies is legitimately on trial for a roster spot like anyone else. A week is a very short period of time to give to the evaluation of a player who will will cost as much as Davies and whose current ability to play and score against legitimate league competition is such an unknown. With a goal in the bag and no sign of physical limitation, United has something to point to to justify completing the loan deal. We still won't know if Charlie can be successful in MLS once the week is out, but it will be worth it for United to find out by giving him a roster spot.

I'm not suggesting that keeping Charlie isn't the right move for D.C. United. I'm simply suggesting that they're willing to go into the season without having a solid grasp on what he can do for them on the field because of everything he will bring off of it.

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